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PROLETCULT 

(PROLETARIAN CULTURE) 



BY 



EDEN & CEDAR PAUL 

AUTHORS OF "CREATIVE REVOLUTION" 



'he n labour strikes, it says to its master : I shall no longer work at your 

command, 
/hen it votes for a party of its own, it says: I shall no longer vote at 

your command, 
/hen it creates its own classes and colleges, it says: I shall no longer 

think at your command, 
abour's challenge to education is the most fundamental of the three.— 

Henry de Man. 



NEW YORK 

THOMAS SELTZER, inc. 

5 WEST 50th STREET 



1921 



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TO ALL THE 

COMRADES AND FRIENDS 

WHO HAVE HELPED US 

WITH MATERIALS 

AND COUNSEL 



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CONTENTS 

CHAPTER PAGE 

I EDUCATION & THE CLASS STRUGGLE 9 

DO YOUR OWN THINKING - 9 

CLASS CONSCIOUSNESS IMPERATIVE - - 11 

SIMPLIFICATION AND CONCENTRATION OF AIM - 13 

TENDENCY IN SCIENCE AND IN EDUCATION - 15 

PROLETARIAN ECONOMICS AS A CALL TO ARMS - 17 

II WHAT IS PROLETCULT? - 19 

TERMINOLOGY - - 19 

CULTURE 23 

PHASEOLOGY OF CULTURE - 26 

III WANDERINGS IN THE EDUCATIONAL 

WILDERNESS - 31 

FROM ECCLESIASTICUS TO MARX - 31 

DOWN AMONG THE MASSES - 36 

IV FALSE ROUTES 41 

THE ELEMENTARY EDUCATION ACT OF 1870 - 41 

THE ADULT SCHOOL MOVEMENT - - V^ 42 

COOPERATIVE EDUCATIOxNT ----- 44 

RUSKIN COLLEGE 47 

THE WORKERS' EDUCATIONAL ASSOCIATION - 48 

V THE PLEBS LEAGUE & THE CENTRAL 

LABOUR COLLEGE - 53 

EDUCATIONAL WORK OF THE SOCIALIST LABOUR 

PARTY 53 

THE RIFT IN THE LU r ^ AT RUSKIN - - - 54 

THE PLEBS MAGAZINE AND THE PLEBS LEAGUE - \ 57 

THE CENTRAL LABOUR COLLEGE - 61 

VI THE FERMENT OF THE WORLD 

REVOLUTION ------ 64 

FERRER AND THE MODERN SCHOOLS 64 

THE FRENCH SYNDICALISTS - 67 

WORKERS' EDUCATION IN THE AMERICAS - - 68 

GERMANY: 1, THEORY 75 

GERMANY: 2, PRACTICE 77 



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OHAPTBB ONE 

i i>i c \ no\ \\i> nil' Oh iM 8TRUUOLE 

%H%til info the workiiiij chis* fhr 

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k mm \i \k\ nad P* ti im;imi Bitten • . 1848 
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Inrmls :iml iomr:nl<-> In whom i< in <lr<l i< .1 f r<l 

" , \ our Brs1 i ii.i|)i< r." in* taidj " should contain &n 
outline of the genera] characterlatici of the olulu 
for [ndependent Working Claw Education Sfou 
should dlicusii the nature <>i the need) ihould <i< % 
icrtbe the material .mi gyitena of work}ng*elasi 
education hat bo deal withj ihould explain the 

ruiHl.miriil.il ivn,mrriiirnf *. • » I I hr nnxloi n wnrkiii;- 

claw and of the worklng-elati movement a chap 
leaves * hool aj fourteen, and In moat eaiei he get* 
no further education In iaj purpoelve wuit uniii 
in* is twenty. 11 Li boI until he Id about twenty 



10 PROLETCULT 



that we [our comrade was speaking in the Labour 
College] have a chance of getting hold of him. 
Then, from our point of view and his, the first 
need of the education he is craving for, and of the 
education which we want to give him, is to show 
him his place in the fighting organisation of trade 
unionism. That is why it is out of the question 
for us to think of giving him what is called i an 
all-round education/ There is no time for that; 
and if we attempted anything of the kind we should 
defeat our own ends." 

What, then, is the fundamental requirement of 
the modern working class? Unhesitatingly we re- 
ply : It is to use the economic power of the workers 
for the overthrow of the capitalist system, the 
abolition of wagery, and the inauguration of a 
classless commonwealth. Consciously or uncon- 
sciously, that has been the aim of the modern 
working-class movement since it first came to life. 
The struggle for higher wages, shorter hours, bet- 
ter working conditions, and latterly the struggle 
for workers' control in industry, have all been 
parts of the struggle for the ending of the dominant 
social system. For this purpose, the workers or- 
ganise on the economic field, at first in small craft 
unions and subsequently in the larger industrial 
unions. For this purpose, they organise on the 
political field in the endeavour to wrest from the 
master class the political machinery of the bour- 
geois State. For this purpose, they are creating 
a press of their own which shall inform them re- 
garding current events without the capitalist bias 
which pervades the press owned and controlled by 
the plutocracy. Quite recently, during the last ten 



EDUCATION AND THE CLASS STRUGGLE 11 

years or so, the workers" vanguard has come clearly 
to recognise that all other efforts will be mis- 
directed unless guided by knowledge. The workers' 
demand for education is no longer a demand for 
graduated doses of bourgeois culture. It is a 
demand for an education which shall make the 
workers understand their place in the economic 
and social system, and shall help them in the 
successful waging of the class war. It is a demand 
for Independent Working-Class Education. To 
satisfy this demand, the workers have to do their 
own thinking. The hirelings of the master class, 
of the class which is economically organised in 
employers' federations and politically organised as 
the " democratic " State, will continue to fool the 
workers so long as they are permitted to think for 
the workers, and to sing the soothing lullabies of 
social solidarity and harmony of interests between 
employers and employed. 

CLASS CONSCIOUSNESS IMPERATIVE 

But we are outrunning the mass of the workers 
when we say that they no longer demand graduated 
doses of bourgeois culture. We shall see in sub- 
sequent chapters that, historically considered, the 
demand for adult education was nothing more than 
this for nearly three generations. Even to-day, 
the demand is often enough no more than this, in 
so far as it finds conscious expression. Apart from 
the Labour Colleges in London, Glasgow, and 
elsewhere, apart from- the Plebs League, which is 
the most effective exponent of the demand for a 
distinctively proletarian culture, the network of 
British organisations through which the craving 



12 PBOLETCULT 



for adult education is mainly satisfied, is not con- 
sciously partisan. The Workers' Educational 
Association, for instance, makes a parade of im- 
partiality. Its tendency is one of unconscious bias 
in favour of the institutions of the bourgeois State. 
Nevertheless, the education which the pupils of 
the Tutorial Classes predominantly demand, is 
something very different from a vague " general 
culture." The working men and women who at- 
tend the Tutorial Classes desire instruction, before 
all, in such subjects as economics and industrial 
history. That is to say, they want to understand 
the nature of the system in virtue of which, when 
employed, they are galley-slaves chained to the 
bench, and, when out of employment, they are 
unchained, and jettisoned to fend for themselves 
at the mercy of wind and water. They wish to 
know how that system grew up. Having learned 
that it did not always exist, they desire to grasp 
the means by which the working class can effect 
the revolutionary transformation of a system which 
is obviously inefficient to fulfil the first require- 
ments of a " social " order. But this last they 
will never learn from the " unbiased " exponents 
of social solidarity and class collaboration. Nor 
will they learn it for themselves until they become 
genuinely class conscious, do their own thinking, 
and achieve a culture of their own. Bourgeois 
education acts like poison gas. " Bevolutionary 
class-conscious education is the only effective gas- 
mask for the workers." 



EDUCATION AND THE CLASS STRUGGLE 13 

SIMPLIFICATION AND CONCENTRATION OP AIM 

The demand (even in the Tutorial Classes which 
would fain " unite labour and learning ") for a 
" narrow " culture, is in itself a manifestation of 
a dawning class consciousness. A worker who is 
given special opportunities for adult education, 
and who, instead of asking for lectures on Shake- 
speare or on Greek Art, demands information on 
the mechanism of contemporary social life, is at 
any rate well on the way to an understanding of 
the fact that the working class and the employing 
class have nothing in common. But it is in the 
organisations which have come into existence as 
conscious expressions of the demand for prole- 
tarian culture, and as conscious attempts to fulfil 
this demand, that we find the most characteristic 
simplifications of method, and the most char- 
acteristic concentration on primary and essential 
subjects. The recognition that the knowledge is 
required for immediate action, or for action in the 
very near future, is an additional incentive to 
simplification and concentration. These requisites 
are reinforced by the peculiarities of the students. 
Of course those freak members of the working class 
who take up some highly specialised study as a 
hobby, and pursue it through a life of contented 
toil and scant leisure, may rejoice (within in- 
exorable limits) in numerous and imperfectly mas- 
tered technicalities. But the students of the 
Labour Colleges and of the educational classes 
which are animated with the spirit of the Plebs 
League, being class conscious even before their 
adult education begins, being keenly aware of the 
limitations imposed by the deficiencies of such 



14 PROLETOULT 



" general culture " as they secured in childhood 
kt the elementary schools, and being for the most 
part imbued from the outset with the idea that a 
social revolution is imminent and that it behoves 
them to play their part in intensifying and clari- 
fying the revolutionary impetus, will emphasise the 
need for simplification and concentration of aim. 
Aim, tendency, purpose, this is the leading 
feature of proletarian culture. Not " education 
for education's sake " ; but revolutionary educa- 
tion, i.e., education for revolutionary ends. The 
origins of this class-conscious and partisan edu- 
cation are but new illustrations of the working of 
the forces which, in Marxist theory, are sum- 
marised under the name of the materialist con- 
ception of history. Developing industrial technique 
brings about a development of proletarian con- 
sciousness. This gives rise to a proletarian cul- 
ture, to Proletcult. And the first aim of Proletcult 
(in its prerevolutionary phase) is to simplify, to 
concentrate, to discard everything which does not 
contribute to the growth of a fighting culture. 
Not general culture, professedly unbiased, but a 
fighting culture, admittedly tendentious, is the 
avowed aim of the revolutionary proletariat. Does 
this horrify the champions of " unbiased educa- 
tion "? Nay, but we are ready, we are eager, to 
offer a general apologia for tendency in science! 
We echo Bergson and say : " We do not aim 
generally at knowledge for the sake of knowledge, 
but in order to take sides, to draw profit — in short, 
to satisfy an interest. " (Introduction to Meta- 
physics, p. 35). 



EDUCATION AND THE CLASS STRUGGLE 15 

TENDENCY IN SCIENCE AND IN EDUCATION 

The essential thing in science, the essential thing 
in education, is the human interest. We live by 
desire and emotion ; by the gratification of will 
and by artistic appreciation; it is for these ends 
that we strive to know. Emotion is the driving 
force of human life; what distinguishes man, as 
man, from other animals, is the extent to which 
he endeavours to make reason his guide. But he 
cannot rationalise his activities, he should not try 
to rationalise his activities, to the degree of making 
them unemotional, of depriving them of " ten- 
dency." Thus in proportion as, in science, we 
move from the purely abstract to the biological 
and social plane, in proportion as the direct human 
interest comes to predominate in any branch of 
study, do we find that the subject becomes ten- 
dentious ; do we find that it is studied with a desire 
(conscious or unconscious) to fulfil an underlying 
purpose, to advance a cause. We do not mean that 
there is no human interest in the higher mathe- 
matics. Our essential thesis, that all science is 
tendentious, is an assertion of the contrary. It 
is a question of degree ; but even in such abstract 
sciences as history and philosophy, writers are 
readable, are instructive, precisely in proportion 
as they refrain from attempting an impossible 
" impartiality." But the more abstract the 
science, the more, in the interest of truthful 
statement, must tendency be kept under control. 
Broadly speaking, the gradation is plain enough. 
Tendentious algebra would be ridiculous; ten- 
dentious arithmetic has landed many an accountant 



16 PBOLETCULT 



behind prison bars. These are abstract sciences, 
with which tendency has little to do, and in which 
the emotional element must be severely repressed. 
But the science of economics is studied primarily 
for its bearing upon the advancement of human 
life. Untendentious economics, untendentious 
sociology, are, we would urge, as absurd, as 
impossible, as untendentious violin-playing or un- 
tendentious football. 

We choose economics as our illustrative science 
for two reasons. In the first place, it is the 
favourite subject in working-class adult education. 
Secondly, it is a test instance. The Plebs League 
has been repeatedly blamed for advocating the 
teaching of " merely socialist economics." On 
the other hand, the Workers Educational Associa- 
tion prides itself on the impartial character of the 
economic science taught in the Tutorial Classes. 
Quite true, proletarian economics is communis- 
tically tendentious, being economics studied by 
communists for communists. The underlying pur- 
pose of the study is to promote communism. The 
affect (as the New Psychology would phrase it) is 
a deep-rooted and emotionally tinged conviction 
that communist economics is calculated to advance 
the workers' cause. But " orthodox economics," 
which means pre-Marxist economics, is in reality 
no less tendentious. The difference between the 
Marxists and the non- Marxists is that the Marxists 
are frankly aware of the nature of their prepos- 
sessions, whereas the non-Marxists falsely imagine 
that they can keep emotional leanings out of a 
study which by its very nature is tendentious. 
Economics that is not " merely socialist" is the 



EDUCATION AND THE CLASS STRUGGLE 17 

economics of the master class. " Official " econo- 
mists are — almost literally — " chaplains to the 
pirate ship ! " 

PROLETARIAN ECONOMICS AS A CALL TO ARMS 

There is an excellent story of an oriental student 
at a western university who was asked why he 
regarded with so much disfavour the works of the 
orthodox economists, the writers who claim to be 
purely scientific, to be quite free from distorting 
tendency. " These writings," -lie answered, "are 
variations upon a single theme. They all endeavour 
to teach the art of extracting honey from the hive 
without alarming the bees." Very different is the 
purpose of proletarian economics, of prerevolu- 
tionary Proletcult. Its purpose is, as the Plebs 
League phrases it, " to further the interests of 
Independent Working-Class Education as a par- 
tisan effort to improve the position of labour in 
the present, and ultimately to assist in the abolition 
of wage-slavery." In a word, the primary object of 
our tendentious economics, and of all our tenden- 
tious proletarian education, is to alarm the bees. 

Aux armes, citoyens ! To arms, comrades ! You 
are being robbed every hour of your working day, 
and every hour of your unemployment. Not merely 
do the drones rifle you of your material goods (no 
small thing, though it may seem a trifle to those 
who have never known want). But inasmuch as 
you are robbed of these material things, and in 
virtue of the whole system which robs you of these 
things, you are being robbed of far greater 
treasures; of life, liberty, and the pursuit of 
happiness. If you would end this despoilment, 



18 PEOLETCULT 



overturn the old order, and create the new. There 
are three means by which, in collaboration, you 
will bring about this revolutionary change : 
political organisation in the ranks of the Com- 
munist Party; mass action on the part of the 
organised workers; and proletarian culture. 

Now Proletcult is the lamp whereby all the 
roads of advance arc lighted. 



CHAPTEK TWO 

WHAT IS PEOLETCULT? 

New ideas make a more definite impres- 
sion on the mind when they are associated 
with a new name. — Walter Rathenau. (In 
Days to Come, p. 247.) 

TERMINOLOGY 

Proletarians who are alive to their class interest 
(which is the true interest of civilisation) will 
insist upon doing their own thinking; they will 
insist upon Independent Working-Class Education, 
upon proletarian culture, upon Proletcult. The 
term Independent Working- Class Education is 
about twelve years old. The word Proletcult is 
fire-new, and brings us up with a jar against the' 
question of terminology. 

Proletcult is a compact term, a " portmanteau 
word," for proletarian culture. In the prerevo- 
lutionary phase, when a specifically proletarian 
culture is requisite as a fighting culture, as a means 
to the social revolution, Proletcult is practically 
synonymous with what is generally known in this 
country by the cumbrous name of Independent 
Working-Class Education. What do we under- 
stand by education? In the widest sense of the 
term, education signifies the sum of the environ- 
mental influences which act on the individual so 

19 



20 PEOLETOULT 



as to promote his mental development, and trans- 
form him from the savage he is at birth into a 
civilised human being. But as a method of culture 
deliberately employed, Proletcult, like all educa- 
tional methods, is tendentious, for it has a definite 
aim. Just as bourgeois education — " higher-class " 
education in public schools, private schools, and 
universities, and " lower-class " education in the 
State schools — has the definite aim of promoting 
the maintenance of the existing order; so Inde- 
pendent Working-Class Education has the definite 
aim of subverting that order. Both types of 
education are tendentious. The only difference 
between them in this respect is that bourgeois 
education is less consciously tendentious, and often 
claims to be entirely above the battle, to be purely 
impartial. Independent Working-Class Education 
proclaims itself to be candid but not impartial. 
Its frankness in this respect is a source of strength. 
An essential element of proletarian culture is the 
belief that all education outside the domain of the 
extremely abstract sciences like mathematics and 
outside the domain of the purely physical sciences 
like mechanics, all education which involves im- 
parting a knowledge of man's place in nature and 
society, is necessarily tendentious. In the first 
chapter we offered a reasoned justification of ten- 
dency in science and education. Our present 
concern is not to justify Proletcult, but to explain 
what the word means. 

In the postrevolutionary phase — for instance, in 
Soviet Eussia — Proletcult broadens out in two 
directions. Before the social revolution, it is 
mainly if not exclusively a fighting culture. 



WHAT IS PROLETCULT? 21 

Dominated throughout by the tactic of the class 
struggle, Independent Working-Class Education 
can pay little attention to the arts and graces of 
life. At best, its interest in these is incidental 
merely, in so far as they are vehicles of propaganda 
— what Tolstoi termed " means of infection." 
Economics, economic geography, history, biology, 
sociology, psychology, politics (in the Aristotelian 
sense) — these are the subjects which, taught from 
the proletarian outlook, render the worker's mind 
immune to bourgeois ideology. They arouse the 
revolutionary spirit and mentality essential to the 
overthrow of capitalism and to the upbuilding of 
a society based upon labour instead of ownership, 
upon production for use instead of production for 
profit. After the revolution in any particular 
country, and until the world-wide proletarian 
revolution has been achieved, the need for a fight- 
ing culture still remains ; but such a culture differs 
in certain respects from prer evolutionary Prolet- 
cult. The workers' vanguard has overthrown the 
capitalist State, has achieved the dictatorship of 
the proletariat. Just as, under capitalism, the 
aim of capitalist State education is to produce in 
the children of the workers a mentality suitable to 
the purposes of the capitalist State, to inoculate 
with bourgeois ideology those who are proletarian 
by status, to make of them docile wage-slaves and 
submissive instruments of capitalism; so, under 
workers' rule, the workers will use the machinery 
of State education to produce Hn average mentality 
tending to stabilise the workers' State. This is 
what the Soviet Government is successfully ac- 
complishing in Russia. 



22 PEOLETOULT 



Except for the fact that after the revolution the 
whole curriculum can be directed towards these 
ends, whereas in the capitalist State the influences 
of Independent Working-Class Education can for 
the most part be brought to bear only as an occa- 
sional antidote or as a supplement to the bourgeois 
culture of the State schools, there is not much 
difference at first sight between prerevolutionary 
and postrevolutionary Proletcult. But apart from 
these elements of a fighting culture, the workers' 
State can now to an increasing extent devote its 
attention to what we have termed the arts and 
graces of life. The social revolution will have 
released the creative forces slumbering in the pro- 
letariat; art and science will blossom abundantly 
and will assume new forms. It is to these de- 
velopments that the term Proletcult was first 
applied in Soviet Eussia. They will be fully 
considered in a special chapter. Enough here to 
say that in Germany, Proletcult is understood in 
the wider sense in which the word is employed in 
this book. Indeed, the more ample conception of 
Proletcult is now gaining ground in Eussia it- 
self. 

Before quitting the somewhat arid field of defini- 
tion, it seems expedient to say that no definition 
of such terms as proletariat, bourgeoisie, class 
struggle, revolution, etc., is considered requisite. 
This is a study of Proletcult, not of economics or 
sociology. The words are employed in the sense 
usual in modern Marxist literature.- In so far as 
the authors may have any message of their own to 
convey upon such topics, they have conveyed that 
message in a little volume entitled Creative Revo- 



WHAT IS PROLETCULT? 23 

hit ion. Enough to say here that Proletcult, as a 
fighting culture, is based upon the conception of 
the class struggle; that its fundamental aim, in 
the prerevolutionary phase, is to render the workers 
class-conscious, and thus to give them both the 
knowledge and the fighting impetus which will 
enable them to achieve their historic mission — the 
final overthrow of capitalism and the inauguration 
of the classless State The idea of the class struggle 
will run through this book like a red thread, dif- 
ferentiating proletarian culture from bourgeois 
culture supplied to proletarians. 

CULTURE 

Culture is not synonymous with education. 
Education is something which acts; it is an agent. 
Culture is often used to denote the agent, but it 
is also used to denote the result. Education pro- 
duces culture. This culture, the result of educa- 
tion, is what the Marxists term an ideology; it 
is a system of ideas, a " Weltanschauung " or 
outlook-upon-the-world, a philosophy of life. Re- 
garded as an ideology, the culture of each class, 
each social group, each occupational group, differs 
from the culture of all the rest. To take a familiar 
instance; the ideology of a doctor, his outlook on 
disease, differs fundamentally from the ideology 
of his patient — and this simply as an outcome of 
training, quite apart from a possible conflict of 
interests between doctor and patient when both 
are under the capitalist harrow. Similarly as 
regards master and servant, as regards employer 
and employed; the different relationships give 
different ideologies, different cultures. We see 



24 PROLETCULT 



these contrasts at every turn. The culture of the 
sportsman is at variance with the culture of his 
quarry. Assuredly it is not surprising that an 
exploited class endeavouring to throw off the yoke 
of an exploiting class should find it essential to 
develop the elements of its own culture. 

Let us pass on from these aspects of culture, to 
consider a still broader meaning of that elusive 
term. We must speak of culture in the widest 
possible sense, as the product of education in the 
widest possible sense. We must speak of culture 
as including all the achievements whereby man has 
gained the mastery over nature; all the acquire- 
ments which are enabling him by degrees to con- 
trol the social environment and his own complex 
personality; and all the iridescent manifestations 
of art and science wherein man seeks self-expres- 
sion and whereby he is enabled to enjoy the splen- 
dour of life. Culture in this extended sense is at 
once the raw material of civilisation and its finest 
fruit. As the raw material of civilisation, as the 
culture of those whom Muller-Lyer (History of 
Social Development) classifies as the Nature Peo- 
ples, culture of course existed prior to civilisation. 
Savages had and have their typical cultures; the 
culture of the lower hunters, the higher hunters, 
and the fishers, respectively. Barbarians had and 
have their cultures ; the culture of the pastoralists, 
and the cultures of the various types of agricul- 
turists. But the higher developments of culture 
occur only among the Culture Folk; among hor- 
ticulturists, plough culturists, and commerce cul- 
turists. Accompaniments of the more intensive 
cultivation of the soil, their predominant cause is 



WHAT IS PROLETCULT? 25 

leisure. In the elementary stages of civilisation 
(all that man has hitherto traversed) leisure is 
possible only through the division of labour, 
through the differentiation of men into professions 
and trades, and through the segregation of society 
into classes. The workers do not yet do their 
own thinking. They are slaves, peasants, serfs, 
journeymen, or wage-slaves. Art and science, the 
richer developments of the life of feeling and 
thought, are the product and the privilege of a 
leisure class, and have their roots in the exploita- 
tion of labour. " In capitalist society, spare time 
is acquired for one class by converting the whole 
lifetime of the masses into labour-time." Marx, 
Capital, vol. i., p. 540). 

Thus the higher culture arises only as the pro- 
duct of leisure. One of the paradoxes of what is 
termed " social " development has been that all 
down the ages of civilisation it has been rendered 
possible solely through the break-up of the unity 
of primitive society, thus producing a type of 
"society" rent asunder by the class struggle. 
For the higher culture to be possible, "man" 
must be freed from the need to give his whole time 
to the immediate tasks imposed by the struggle 
for existence. That is to say, certain men (and 
women) must be freed from these immediate tasks. 
Moreover, human mentality must be so far ad- 
vanced that these men and women have a desire 
for active mental employment during the leisure 
which class differentiation has granted them. At 
all times hitherto, and among all classes, desire 
for the advancement of culture and capacity for 
the enjoyment of higher culture, have been con- 



26 PEOLETOULT 



fined to a small minority of our race. Among 
civilised humanity, most grown-ups devote their 
spare time to games and sports, and other forms 
of pseudo-culture. This is just as true of the 
proletariat as of the bourgeoisie. The reduction 
of the hours of toil which has been achieved by 
the mass action of organised labour is turned to 
account, for cultural purposes, only by the few. 
An essential element of Proletcult is the design 
to make the workers realise that, apart from what 
is really needful for physical relaxation and mental 
refreshment, amusements and pseudo-culture are 
part of the dope whereby their attention is diverted 
from the class war and whereby their slave status 
is maintained. It is probable that only a minority 
is intellectually capable of responding to the call 
of Proletcult — but in critical hours a sufficiently 
large, well-informed, and enthusiastic minority 
can always sway the inert mass. 

PHASEOLOGY OF CULTURE 

We must now consider the phaseology of culture, 
of that higher culture which is characteristic of 
civilisation. For our present purposes, three main 
phases may be distinguished : aristocratic and 
theocratic culture ; democratic culture ; ergato- 
cratic culture, or the culture of the phase upon 
which civilisation is now entering, the culture 
which is at once the cause and the effect of 
ergatocracy or workers' rule. 

Aristocratic and theocratic culture are avowedly 
the privilege of a leisure class, which avowedly 
aims at perpetuating its rule. In both cases, the 
sustainers of culture are the stipendiaries of the 



WHAT IS PROLETOULT? 27 

exploiting caste, but they are not always by origin 
members of that caste. The members of a heredi- 
tary aristocracy are often rude and uncultured 
persons; but some of them love culture for its 
own sake; and many of them are patrons, willing 
to grant leisure to those talented members of a 
lower class who can devote themselves to the ad- 
vancement of culture. In a theocracy, culture is 
the privilege of a priestly caste, sometimes heredi- 
tary, but more often recruited from among all 
strata of the population. But whether the culture 
of this phase be aristocratic or theocratic, it is 
invariably and jealously reserved for members of 
the governing class and their hangers-on. There 
is no culture for the " common people," for the 
hewers of wood and the drawers of water. 

Democratic culture is characteristic of the phase 
in social development now drawing to a close. In 
its later stages, throughout all the countries where 
a highly differentiated capitalistic civilisation pre- 
vails, culture is professedly universal. In actual 
fact, however — while there is culture for the 
dominant class and for those aspiring members of 
the working class who can usefully replenish the 
forces of capitalism — for the working class as a 
whole there is only schooling. State education, 
in the modern bourgeois State, aims at giving that 
minimum of instruction which is requisite for the 
nominally " educated " citizens of bourgeois par- 
liamentarism, and essential for the wage-slaves 
under the complicated technique of modern 
capitalist production. For the rest, such ele- 
ments of bourgeois culture as are allowed to filter 
through to the " lower " classes are designed to 



28 PBOLETCULT 



drug the workers' minds into acceptance of the 
existing system. 

" ' Ever heard of a pithed frog? ' said the Tramp. 
—'Pithed frog/ said the Angel. 'No!' — 'It's a 
thing these here viviseetionists do. They takes a 
frog and they cuts out his brains and they shoves 
a bit of pith in the place of 'em. That's a pithed 
frog. Well — that there village is full of pithed 
human beings.'— The Angel took it quite seriously. 
' # Is that so? ' he said. — ' That's so — you take my 
word for it. Everyone of them 'as 'ad their brains 
cut out and chunks of rotten touchwood put in 
the place of it. And you see that little red place 
there? ' — ' That's called the national school/ said 
the Angel. — 'Yes — that's where they piths 'em/ 
said the Tramp." (H. G. Wells, The, Wonderful 
Visit, Chapter xxx.). 

We do not assert that this is the outcome of a 
deliberate policy, for our capitalist rulers are less 
intelligent than communists are apt to believe. 
But that is the way things work out in practice. 
Moreover, the bourgeoisie no less than the pro- 
letariat is becoming class-conscious; and to an 
increasing extent the class war is a manifestation 
of purposive actions and reactions. Thus, as far 
as may be, higher culture is exclusively reserved 
for the members of the bourgeois class. Proles 
is given nothing but the three E's until he demands 
more with irresistible emphasis. Then, to divert 
his attention from the class struggle, he is given 
carefully graded doses of " impartial " education 
in the form of University Extension. 

Ergatocratic culture is Proletcult. Elsewhere 
the authors have expounded their conception of 



WHAT IS PEOLETCULT? 29 

ergatocracy, the new name which is to enable a 
new idea to make a more definite impression 
on the mind. Ergatocracy is " workers' rule." 
Through the dictatorship of the proletariat it will 
save civilisation from perishing in the shipwreck 
of capitalism. Through the dictatorship of the 
proletariat it will realise that higher phase of 
ergatocracy when there will be no more proletariat. 
Proletarians form a working class; under erga- 
tocracy, when all will be workers, there will be a 
classless State. Primarily, as has been said, 
ergatocratic culture, workers' culture, proletarian 
culture, Proleteult, is a fighting culture, aiming 
at the overthrow of capitalism, and at the replace- 
ment of democratic culture and bourgeois ideology 
by ergatocratic culture and proletarian ideology. 
In this stage it is avowedly a class culture. In 
the postrevolutionary phase, when ergatocracy has 
been realised, and in proportion as it becomes 
possible to relax the dictatorship of the proletariat, 
for the first time in the history of civilisation cul- 
ture will become a universal culture. It is likely 
enough that it will continue even then, when the 
proletariat has ceased to exist, to bear the name 
of the class from which it sprang. Walter 
Eathenau coins a useful phrase when he speaks 
of the principle of the Substitution of the Content. 
When historic conditions change, old names often 
persist, but by degrees a new wine is put into the 
old bottles. So significant is the contrast between 
bourgeois culture and proletarian culture, so tre- 
mendous is the present turning-point in the world's 
history, that it may well happen that the first 
universal culture will continue to bear the name 



30 PKOLETOULT 



of Proletcult long after the proletariat has passed 
away, having fulfilled its historic mission. 

We need not concern ourselves with these distant 
vistas. Enough here and now for us to under- 
stand the fighting culture of the proletariat, the 
culture which will achieve and consolidate the 
proletarian revolution, and will then proceed to 
reap the harvest of that revolution. This is what 
we mean by Proletcult. 



CHAPTER THREE 

WANDERINGS IN THE EDUCATIONAL 
WILDERNESS 

The only education that can be of service 
to the workers is an education that gives to 
them a grasp of their own position in 
society and an understanding of their 
mission. — William Mellor. (Direct Action, 
p. 134.) 

FROM ECCLESIASTICUS TO MARX 

An idea for which the time is ripe secures so rapid 
and so universal an acceptance that it is often 
difficult to ascertain where it was first formulated. 
It has been contended that the idea of what we 
have termed revolutionary Proletcult originated 
with the French syndicalists, and was introduced 
into Britain by British disciples. But the first 
attempt at Independent Working-Class Education 
in Britain had no such origin. W. Nairne, of the 
Social Democratic Federation, organised Marxist 
classes on the Clyde as long ago as the nineties. 
Nairne died young in 1898, and the work was 
carried on more systematically by George Yates 
and Jim Connolly, who led the left wing of the 
Scottish S.D.F. against Hyndman and Quelch. 
The idea of the class struggle is almost as old 

31 



32 PROLETCULT 



as the class struggle itself, and the class struggle 
is a universal manifestation throughout the his* 
tory of civilisation. A cry that has come down 
through the ages is that of Jesus the son of Sirach : 
" What peace is there between the hyena and the 
dog; and what peace between the rich man and 
the poor? Wild asses are the prey of lions in the 
wilderness ; so poor men are pastures for the rich. 
. . . A poor man speaketh, and they say, Who 
is this? And if he stumble, they will help to 
overthrow him." (Ecciesiasticus, XIII, 18, 19, 
4 and 23). But the idea of using education as a 
subversive instrument could hardly originate in 
Judaea more than two thousand years ago. Nor 
can we expect to find such a notion formulated by 
any of the great utopists, from Plato and More 
and Oampanella down to Hertzka and Wells; for 
most of the utopists have been social solidarians. 
There is an effective social solidarity — if only 
people would realise it! Goodwill and Ripe In- 
telligence will solve the social problem without 
anything so crude as class war and revolutionary 
education ! In fact the usual poppycock of the 
apostles of a Change of Heart and of the poten- 
tially perfect Rationality of Man! 

But there was one socialist who wrote a Utopian 
romance and yet was most certainly not a utopist. 
The author of News from Nowhere was on the track 
of the idea of revolutionary education as long ago 
as 1893. In his lecture on Communism (published 
as Fabian Tract No. 113, with preface by G.B.S.), 
William Morris writes : " What we have to hope 
for is that the inevitable advance of the society 
of equality will make itself felt by the conscious- 



IN THE EDUCATIONAL WILDERNESS 33 

ness of its necessity being impressed upon the 
working people, and that they will consciously 
and not blindly strive for its realisation. That in 
fact is what we mean by the education into so- 
cialism of the working classes " (p. 9). Again (p. 
10) : the existing system of society " may well 
seem like the operation of a natural law to men 
so uneducated that they have not even escaped 
the reflexion of the so-called education of their 
masters, but in addition to their other mishaps are 
saddled also with the superstitions and hypocrisies 
of the upper classes, with scarce a whit of the 
characteristic traditions of their own class to help 
them : an intellectual slavery which is a necessary 
accompaniment of their material slavery. " Yet 
again (also on p. 10) : " Are we to give up all 
hope of educating them into socialism? Surely 
not. Let us use all possible means for drawing 
them into socialism, so that at last they may 
find themselves in such a position that they 
understand themselves to be face to face with 
false society, themselves the only possible ele- 
ments of true society. " Undoubtedly, we have 
here the idea of Proletcult in the germ. 

There had, indeed, been no lack in England of 
preachers of the class war. One of the earliest 
and most notable was the " Mad Priest of Kent," 
the gist of whose sermons has been preserved by 
Froissart. " Good people," said John Ball, 
" things will never go well in England so long 
as goods be not in common, and so long as there 
be villeins and gentlemen. By what right are 
they whom we call lords greater folk than we? 
. . . They have leisure and fine houses ; we have 

3 



34 PEOLETCULT 



pain and labour, the rain and the wind in the 
fields. And yet it is of us and our toil that these 
men hold their state." But there is no revolu- 
tionary educational propaganda in the sermons of 
John Ball, except in so far as he proclaims the 
class war. In this sense he was a modern. So 
in this sense was Spartacus. Yet it is a far cry 
from preaching and waging the class war in mo- 
ments when the struggle becomes acute, to the 
recognition that revolutionary education is of 
enormous importance and may at certain times and 
in certain places become the decisive factor in the 
inauguration of the classless State. 

Robert Owen, in Essays on the Formation of 
Character (1813-1815), puts forward ideas which 
foreshadow the methods of postrevolutionary Pro- 
letcult. It was by an education not unlike that 
which is now being carried on in Russia that Owen 
secured his wonderful successes at New Lanark. 
But there was no prerevolutionary Proletcult, no 
tincture of the ideas of Independent Working-Class 
Education, in the proposals of Robert Owen. He 
appealed to the government to assist him in his 
plans, thus showing clearly that at this time he 
failed to understand the true nature of the 
capitalist State. 

The Chartists and the founders of trade unionism 
in Britain had, for their date, a wonderfully clear 
grasp of the significance of the class struggle. 
But they had no educational policy of any kind, 
and there is not even a demand for " popular 
education " under State auspices among the fa- 
mous six points of the Charter. Perhaps the 
clearest pre- Victorian announcements of the class 



IN THE EDUCATIONAL WILDERNESS 35 

struggle as it manifests itself under capitalist 
conditions are those which appeared in a Chartist 
paper published in Manchester, and entitled " The 
Poor Man's Guardian. " Here an anonymous 
weaver writes : " People who live by plunder, will 
always tell you to be submissive to thieves " (March 
19, 1832). " There is no common interest between 
working men and profit-makers. " (April 14, 
1832). The former of these two quotations con- 
tains an acute analysis of the educational policy 
of the " haves/' but no educational policy is out- 
lined by the writer for the " have-nots." The most 
notable early formulation of such a policy was 
to come fifteen years later from the greatest of all 
socialist theorists, Marx and Engels. An emphatic 
pronouncement of the Communist Manifesto on 
this subject has been quoted as the motto of our 
first chapter. Again and again, the Manifesto 
insists upon the contrast between bourgeois cul- 
ture and ideology on the one hand and prole- 
tarian culture and ideology on the other. " The 
ruling ideas of each age have ever been the ideas 
of its ruling class. When people speak of ideas 
that revolutionise society, they do but express the 
fact that within the old society the elements 
of a new one have been created, and that the 
dissolution of the old ideas keeps pace with 
the dissolution of the old conditions of existence. 
. . . The communist revolution is the most 
radical rupture with traditional property relations ; 
no wonder that its development involves the most 
radical rupture with traditional ideas." But we 
do not find, we cannot expect to find, in the 
Communist Manifesto a definite educational policy 



36 PKOLETCULT 



for revolutionists, a definite recognition of the fact 
that the workers' vanguard must deliberately strive 
to diffuse the elements of a new culture. More 
than forty years were to be spent in wanderings 
in the wilderness before this was to become the 
deliberate educational policy of the revolutionary 
proletariat. 

DOWN AMONG THE MASSES 

Numerous have been the organisations in Bri- 
tain aiming at the adult education of the workers. 
Contemporary bodies like the Young Men's Chris- 
tian Association, whose avowed purpose it is to 
" do good " to the poor, to " instruct " the ignor- 
ant, and to " uplift " the lowly, need be mentioned 
only to be dismissed. Their whole ideology is 
bourgeois or petty bourgeois; their psychology is 
for the most part medieval: individualist " suc- 
cess " either in this world or the next is their 
objective. Their only bearing upon the class 
struggle is that they are among the agencies that 
assist in obscuring its issues, and that in this way 
they cooperate towards the stabilisation of the 
existing order. Since the war, indeed, the 
Y.M.C.A. and the Y.W.C.A. have been definitely 
and consciously used to supply educational " dope" 
to intelligent youths and maidens. 

More interesting are the attempts that have been 
made to promote working-class education of a 
character ostensibly freed from the dominance of 
outworn creeds. Among these, the Working Men's 
College founded in London in the year 1854, a 
similar body established not long afterwards in 
Sheffield, and kindred organisations, deserve 



IN THE EDUCATIONAL WILDERNESS 37 

especial mention. But all such bodies were the 
offspring of middle and upper class movements, 
designed by well-meaning philanthropists to confer 
the boon of knowledge on their social inferiors — 
in days when a large proportion of the population 
was still unable to read and write. The benevolent 
founders of these institutions suffered greatly from 
what the Freudians term the " superiority com- 
plex." Two extracts will show how utterly alien 
to any revolutionary spirit were these early ex- 
periments in adult education. 

The first extract relates to Frederick Denison 
Maurice (1805-1872) usually regarded as the orig- 
inator of the Christian Socialist movement in 
England. Maurice, writes Beer (History of British 
Socialism, London, 1919-20, Vol. II, pp. 180-2), 
"believed that God had an educational plan for 
the world, by which the perfection of the individual 
and the race was to be accomplished. . . . His 
main idea was to Socialise the Christian and to 
Christianise the Socialist. Socialism appeared to 
him to be essentially the business of the Church 
and not of the State. . . . He was no demo- 
crat, and condemned the doctrine of the sovereignty 
of the people as subversive." 

Another leading spirit in the early days of the 
Working Men's College was F. J. Furnivall (1825- 
1910), in youth a celebrated oarsman, in later life 
a distinguished philologist, and always a genial 
eccentric. The Eev. J. Llewelyn Davies, editor of 
an excellent history entitled The Working Men's 
College, 1854-1904, refers to Furnivall' s popularity 
among the students, and tells us in a footnote that 
H Dr. Furnivall represents a line of action that 



38 PROLETOULT 



was out of harmony in some respects with 
Maurice's views and feelings." FurnivalPs prin- 
ciple was that every man was to be treated as an 
equal and a friend. He would have liked the 
students to be allowed beer in the College at 
supper, and remarks that since the Council was 
firm on teetot&li&m [for working men !] , he and 
his students had many a jolly evening at a neigh- 
bouring pub. And yet there was a subtle and 
subconscious flavour of patronage even about Fur- 
nivalPs attitude. Original in spelling as in other 
matters he writes (op. cit. pp. 55/6) : "I urged 
every teacher to have his class to tea at his own 
rooms, if possible. . . . As an instance of how 
this workt I may give the case of a student, a 
lithographer, who met me in Camden Town some 
thirty-five years after he had been a member of 
my grammar class. After telling me how well he 
had got on, what classes he was teaching drawing 
to, etc., he said : ' And do you know how all this 
came about?' 'No,' said I. 'Then I'll tell you,' 
answered he. ' I was in your class at the College, 
and you askt me to tea with some of the others. 
I'd never been in a gentleman's room before, and 
when I came out, after seeing your pictures, books, 
and chairs, I said to myself, " I'll have as good a 
room as that." And now I've got a better.' Cheer- 
ing, wasn't it, and so unexpected. Ruskin and 
most of our teachers had their classes to tea." 
We have taken the liberty of italicising the more 
salient passages, with their quaint aroma of " Self- 
Help " and Samuel Smiles. Could the gospel of 
" Climb out of the working class," as opposed 
to the gospel of " Expropriate the expropriators 



IN THE EDUCATIONAL WILDERNESS 39 

and install the classless commonwealth," find more 
ingenuous expression? 

It will be obvious that in these Working Men's 
Colleges there was no breath of that vivifying 
atmosphere of the class struggle which sweeps like 
a draught of fresh air through the early trade- 
unionist movement and to a lesser extent through 
the early cooperative movement. Though called 
Working Men's Colleges, they were in no sense 
whatever a spontaneous product of the working- 
class spirit, a manifestation of the demand for a 
distinctively proletarian culture. Like Toynbee 
Hall, Oxford House, the University Extension 
Movement, and similar products of the late- 
Victorian era, these mid- Victorian educational 
activities were the gifts of conscience-stricken 
members of the bourgeois class, the gifts of per- 
sons willing to do anything for the workers — 
except get off their backs. When they were not 
the outcome of what we now call " swank " ! 
When the motive was not simply that of the idler 
in search of sensation, the motive which animated 
so many of the fashionable "shimmers" of the 
eighties. We recall the words of the dying Lumpen - 
proletarian in May Kendall's " Ballad of the 
Cadger " (Dreams to Sell, London, 1887) : 

" Go down among the masses ! " 
Why, every blessed toff- 
It isn't us he cares for, 
It's showing hisself off ! 

So much for the first stirrings of the movement 
for adult education in Britain. We must now 
turn to consider later developments, still pre- 



40 PROLETCULT 



Marxian in their ideology though not pre- Marxian 
in time. Largely proletarian in origin , they belong 
to the era of advanced capitalism, when inter- 
national competition and the developments of 
industrial technique (to say nothing of the 
exigencies of modern warfare) had enforced the 
acceptance of universal State education. But 
State education in Britain was, until yesterday, 
continued only up to the age of 14. After this 
brief schooling, came years of neglect and drift, 
until in early adult life a certain proportion of 
the workers grew aware of the desire for a fuller 
education. Prior to the formation of the Plebs 
League and the subsequent foundation of the 
Central Labour College, the chief organisations to 
cope with that need were those connected with the 
Adult School Movement, the Cooperative Move- 
ment, and the Workers' Educational Association. 



x 



CHAPTER FOUR 
FALSE ROUTES 

The direction of the mind is more im- 
portant than its progress. — Joseph Joubert. 
(Thoughts, No. 266.) 

THE ELEMENTARY EDUCATION ACT OP 1870 

A discussion of State education lies beyond the 
scope of this book. We write in the conviction 
that the capitalist State represents the interests 
of the capitalist class. The whole theory of Pro- 
letcult implies a belief that at the present stage 
of social development the interest of the working 
class has become the primary interest of civilisa- 
tion, and that a true civilisation can only be 
achieved through the revolutionary instrument of 
Independent Working-Class Education. The bour- 
geoisie, no less than the proletariat, grows in- 
creasingly class conscious as the hour for the final 
struggle approaches, and it would be absurd to 
expect the master class to provide the weapons for 
its own expropriation. But though the master 
class has never ceased to wage the class struggle, 
it is to proletarian philosophy that the world owes 
a recognition of the existence and the nature of 
that struggle. It was in the days before the 
characteristics of the modern working-class move- 
ment were understood, that capitalist States were 

41 



42 PROLETCULT 



compelled by historic forces to establish systems 
of universal and compulsory elementary education. 
Wanderings in the educational wilderness were 
inevitable so long as the working population was 
for the most part illiterate in the crudest sense of 
that term. Not until after Foster's Act of 1870, 
whereby elementary education was made compul- 
sory in Britain, could there arise the first intima- 
tions of a movement in favour of Independent 
Working-Class Education. 

THE ADULT SCHOOL MOVEMENT 

The Adult School Movement has not emerged 
from the educational wilderness, but is included 
in the present chapter rather than in the last be- 
cause it is a vigorous contemporary undertaking, 
and because its activities may (to a minimal ex- 
tent) serve to supply recruits for the revolutionary 
army. It is the oldest educational movement in 
this country among those which attempt to supply 
the need for adult working-class education. The 
first Adult School was established in 1798, and 
many others flourished in the early decades of the 
nineteenth century. During the first fifty years 
and more of their existence, their chief function 
was to teach illiterates to read. From 1852 on- 
wards, the Society of Friends played an active 
part in promoting the development of Adult 
Schools. Since 1874 there has been a steady growth 
in their number, and their educational work has 
come to predominate over their religious activities. 
Writing in the W.E.A. Education Year Book (1918), 
the secretary to the National Adult School Union 
speaks of " its 18,000 school communities, meeting 



FALSE RO UTES 43 

weekly for consecutive study, its hundreds of study 
circles, its courses of lectures, its week-end lectur§ 
schools, its summer schools, and its many tutorial 
and similar classes." 

But a careful study of the publications of the 
Union will impress the Proletculturist with the 
importance of the distinction drawn by Joseph 
Joubert (the French philosopher) when he wrote 
" the direction of the mind is more important than 
its progress. " We emerge from a perusal of the 
Adult School literature with the feeling that we 
have been plunged in a bath of Uplift, of Earnest- 
ness, of Undenominational Goodness. But our 
minds have been given no direction whatever, save 
towards an undefined " progress," or towards the 
chimera of " social solidarity " in a community 
rent asunder by the class struggle. This " non- 
partisan education " leads nowhither. Consciously, 
at least. Unconsciously, with its inculcation of 
the ideal of social service, with its blindness to 
the realities of the class war, it tends to perpetuate 
the bias the pupils have already received in the 
State elementary schools — to perpetuate the belief 
that the present world- order is the final form of 
civilisation, and that no improvements are needed 
beyond reforms within the existing system. The 
Adult Schools, under present auspices, can have 
no Proletcultural influence whatever. When not 
effectively reactionary, they are monuments of 
wasted effort. For the most part they make for 
reaction. We live in one of those critical epochs 
in which we must show our colours. The revolu- 
tionist's slogan must be, " Who is on my side? 
He who is not for me is against me." 



44 PROLETCULT 



COOPERATIVE EDUCATION 

Cooperators' interest in education dates from a 
period long antecedent to the Elementary Educa- 
tion Act. The Rochdale pioneers (1844) made a 
rule " that a definite percentage of profits should 
be allotted to education." This example has been 
followed more or less faithfully throughout the 
history of the movement, and the model rules of 
the Cooperative Union recommend to every society 
the putting aside of 2\% of its surplus as an edu- 
cational fund, and the election of a special com- 
mittee for administration. At the present time 
cooperators are spending something like £100,000 
a year upon educational activities. Since the co- 
operative movement is most emphatically an in- 
dependent working-class movement, and since the 
pioneer cooperators (at any rate) were inspired 
with the belief that their movement was destined 
to achieve a social revolution, it might be expected 
that cooperative education would develop in the 
direction of Independent Working-Glass Educa- 
tion, in the direction of revolutionary proletarian 
culture. The Duke of Northumberland, we learn 
from " The Spectator " of August 14, 1920, actually 
believes that Robert Smillie's policy is to capture 
the cooperative movement for revolution! But 
the dominant economic system has been too strong 
for the cooperators. Despite the success of dis- 
tributive cooperation, cooperation has not proved 
itself to be a revolutionary force. Nor has the 
cooperators' mentality escaped the universally in- 
fective influence of bourgeois ideology. 

What is the " direction " of the cooperative 
mind in educational matters? It is announced 



FALSE EOUTES 45 

on the cover of " The Cooperative Educator," a 
monthly magazine published by the Cooperative 
Union Limited. Here we read : " The objects of 
cooperative education are, primarily, the forma- 
tion of cooperative character and opinions by 
teaching the history, theory, and principles of the 
movement, with economics and industrial and con- 
stitutional history in so far as they have a bearing 
on cooperation ; and secondarily, though not neces- 
sarily of less import, the training of men and 
women to take part in industrial and social re- 
forms and civic life generally." This formula dates 
from 1885, when a Central Educational Committee 
of the Cooperative Union was established for the 
purpose of directing and coordinating the educa- 
tional policy and the educational work of the 
societies. It will be obvious that the aims of co- 
operative education are twofold. The first of these 
may be defined as " technical education " for co- 
operators. The second aim is to train cooperators 
to become useful reformers within the existing 
order. Not a word about the class war; not a 
word about the social revolution ! In the recom- 
mendations in regard to cooperative education 
presented to the Swansea Cooperative Congress 
(1917), there are repeated references to " joint 
action for educational purposes with other working- 
class organisations." The bodies specifically 
named are Ruskin College, Oxford; The Working 
Men's College, London ; and The Workers' Edu- 
cational Association. Significant indeed is the 
omission ! The Labour College desires no support 
from laodiceans. But the fact that the Labour 
College is not one of the working-class organisa- 



46 PROLETCULT 



tions with which the cooperative educationists 
propose to cooperate, indicates that cooperators 
are not class conscious but only cooperator con- 
scious. , 

For Proletcultural purposes the cooperative 
movement would seem to be useless because it is 
not animated with the spirit of revolution. The 
cooperation is a cooperation between the slaves 
and the machine which drives them. Such co- 
operation is no more than a lubricant easing the 
chafe of the chains, but incapable of loosening these 
chains. To be cooperator conscious is not enough. 
Revolutionary class consciousness is essential. 

There are, indeed, stirrings of such a conscious- 
ness in the latest cooperative educational document 
which has been brought to our notice. On p. 97 
of the Educational Programme and Syllabuses of 
Classes for the Session 1920-21 it is refreshing to 
read : " For many years, cooperative students and 
others, have experienced a sense of dissatisfaction 
with the orthodox theories of economics, and with 
the manner in which economics is presented in text- 
books and in the majority of classes. . . . The 
study of wealth pursuit has overshadowed the study 
of communal wellbeing." . . . We " cannot 
transform the present system without understand- 
ing it " . . . and so on, and so on. 

Shade of Adam Smith ! Could you but have 
foreseen how, in post-Marxian days, the " dismal 
science " was to become the favourite subject of 
proletarian study, and was predestined to act as 
a revolutionary high explosive. If these coopera- 
tive students get to work on an analysis of the 
contradictions latent in the term " communal well- 



FALSE ROUTES 47 

being/' the basis of harmonious joint action with 
Euskin College and the W.E.A. may speedily be 
undermined. 

RUSKIN COLLEGE 

Ruskin College, a residential institution for 
adult working-class students, was founded at Ox- 
ford in the year 1899. Strangely enough, the 
founders were not British, but American admirers 
of John Ruskin. In view of John Ruskin's long 
and intimate association with Oxford, it is per- 
haps not surprising that for this extension of the 
" benefits" of university training to members of 
the working class they should have chosen what 
is commonly regarded as the most reactionary of 
all British universities. But it is certainly worthy 
of note that one of the American founders (Charles 
Beard) has since placed on record his opinion that 
" the modern university does not have for its 
major interest the free, open, and unafraid con- 
sideration of modern issues." For this is the 
fundamental fact about Ruskin College and its 
connexion with Oxford. This is what led, ten 
years after the foundation, to the revolt of the 
pioneer British Proletculturists, students at Rus- 
kin College who believed that the College was 
imbibing the university atmosphere instead of 
guiding a revolutionary movement. 

Of the revolt and its consequences, more in the 
proper place. Enough to say here that the College 
seeks to supply a training in subjects which are 
essential for working-class leadership. But the 
leaders must be of the " saf e and sane" variety, 
warranted not to go too far. The College at 



48 PROLETOULT 



present has no endowments, but is supported by 
trade unions, cooperative societies, the Working 
Men's Club and Institute Union, and other work- 
ing-class organisations. Individual subscribers 
help the finances. Six hundred students have 
passed through the College in one and two year 
courses, and more than ten thousand have taken 
out correspondence courses. Owing to the diffi- 
culty of providing the requisite income of £4,000 
a year, an appeal was recently issued to the public 
on behalf of an endowment fund of £76,000. Two 
among the signatories of this appeal were Arthur 
James Balfour and David Lloyd George. Never- 
theless, since its reorganisation in 1910, Ruskin 
has been substantially under working-class control 
as regards finance, and might shake itself free of 
the " university spirit " if only its governors were 
genuinely class conscious. 

THE WORKERS' EDUCATIONAL ASSOCIATION 

In the summer of 1903 a conference was held at 
Oxford, consisting of delegates from various labour 
and educational organisations, and as a result of 
this conference there came into existence the body 
which a few years later was rechri&tened the 
W.E.A. An authoritative (and, of course, " un- 
biased ") account of the aims and methods of the 
W.E.A. is given by Albert Mansbridge in An 
Adventure in Working -Class Education, being the 
Story of the W.E.A., 1903-1915. Mansbridge was 
one of the founders, and was general secretary of 
the Association from 1905 to 1915. He is, there- 
fore, a highly qualified exponent. Let him speak 
for himself (1920 edition, p. xi.) : 



FALSE ROUTES 49 

" The two streams of labour and scholarship 
unite to make a great and powerful river of edu- 
cation, which must by an unerring law draw to 
itself most, if not all, the runnels and rivulets of 
thought making their way to the open sea of a free 
people. That is, at once, the condition and mean- 
ing of the W.E.A. It conforms to the very ideal 
of democracy, which preconditions the gathering 
up of the true influence of every man, woman, and 
child for translation into the terms of the common 
life." 

Underlying this eloquence is the conception of a 
social solidarity that is potential, and already to 
some extent actual, in the existing form of society. 
Method: " democracy" on the political field; 
" the union between labour and learning" on the 
educational field ; " friendly relations between em- 
ployer and employed " on the industrial field. 
Result : the peaceful — if long delayed — building of 
the " New Jerusalem in England's green and 
pleasant land." 

Those in touch with the realities of modern life, 
those who believe that there is no political alchemy 
which can change an industrial or political enemy 
into an educational friend, those who hold that 
throughout the world of education there is repro- 
duced the antagonism which prevails in the world 
of production, will have a contrasted summary of 
method and result. Method: " ergatocracy " on 
the political field; " prerevolutionary Proletcult " 
on the educational field; " unremitting struggle" 
on the industrial field. Result : strife, until 
capitalism has been overthrown ; establishment of 
the dictatorship of the revolutionary proletariat; 

4 



50 PEOLETOULT 



forcible resistance to the counter-revolution ; post- 
revolutionary Proletcult, ultimately leading (in 
the only possible way) to a truly universal culture. 

More Mansbridge (op. cit., p. xv.) : " The most 
educated man is he who most completely fills his 
allotted task in spirit and in act, whether it be 
the digging of a trench or the writing of a poem." 

Comment : Precisely ! The task of the prole- 
tariat to-day is (metaphorically speaking) to dig 
trenches. The " most educated" proletarian is 
the class-conscious proletarian who fits himself by 
Independent Working- Class Education for the 
immediately allotted task of the proletariat — the 
overthrow of bourgeois democracy and the estab- 
lishment of communist ergatocracy. 

Even Mansbridge is uneasy when he contem- 
plates the fugitive splendour of the Mechanics 
Institute movement and similar mushroom growths 
of nearly a century ago. " The strange and rapid 
passing of this movement is due in part to the 
overwhelming philanthropic nature of the inspiring 
and creative force which made it possible." This 
philanthropy is " unfamiliar and repellent to the 
sensitive ears of a democratic age." (Op. cit. pp. 
2/3). Yet Mansbridge is not free from overwhelm- 
ing philanthropy, from an insufferable desire to 
" do good," from a note of patronage which grates 
on the ear of any modern ergatocrat. He admits 
(p. 20) that in its first blossoming as An Associa- 
tion to Promote the Higher Education of Working 
Men, the W.E.A. was not entirely above the re- 
proach of being " an association for making people 
good." But, after this brief self-criticism, he goes 
on to speak (p. 22) of an " opposition which was 



FALSE ROUTES 51 

restricted to a few persons who declared that the 
Association was a device to sidetrack the attention 
of working men and women from their legitimate 
movement. " 

But what is the " legitimate movement" oiL 
working men and women, and what is their " al- 
lotted task"? Even within the W.E.A. the op- 
position of those who do not share Albert Mans- 
bridge's views on these matters is not always that 
of " a few persons." Let us quote William Mellor 
(Direct Action, pp. 129/30) : " Fortunately for the 
W.E.A. its constitution leaves to the students a 
great amount of liberty. . . . They can . . . 
manage their own affairs . . . get rid of the 
official view and . . . secure that the type of 
education given is more revolutionary than would 
meet with the approval of the Board of Education, 
of the universities, or of many of the supporters 
of the W.E.A. But this result is only obtained 
by throwing overboard the ' non-political and 
non-partisan ' character of the organisation — in 
other words, by giving up the pretence that edu- 
cation takes no sides. It is, indeed, just in those 
places where the official view has least hold, that 
the W.E.A. succeeds in securing the support of 
the working classes, and in thereby becoming an 
efficient instrument of working-class education. 
Places like the West Riding of Yorkshire, for in- 
stance, have managed to evade most of the regu- 
lations designed to keep the W.E.A. in the straight 
path, and the workers do control their own edu- 
cation." In such cases it will be vain for Mans- 
bridge to express his horror at the idea of 
" prostituting the educational machinery of the 



\ 



52 PROLETCULT 



W.E.A. for political and revolutionary ends" 
(letter to "Sunday Times," January 2, 1921). 
Despite the clucking of the old hen on the bank, 
the duckling brood has taken to the water. 

There has been much discussion (Adventure, p. 
31), as to the best phrase to denote the funda- 
mental purpose of the W.E.A. " Educational 
ladder" and "educational corridor" were mooted 
and rejected. The term "educational highway" 
was ultimately adopted, and " The Highway " is 
the name of the monthly organ of the Association. 
" Along the broad highway of congenial study, 
postman and professor, manual labourer and 
university graduate, journey in complete amity " 
(" Spectator," July 17, 1920, reviewing Mans- 
bridge's book). But whither is your highway to 
lead? Bound and round the mulberry bush? 

We. are building a new highway too, and it will 
lead to a new world. Pur immediate goal is the 
social revolution. 



CHAPTER FIVE 

THE PLEBS LEAGUE AND THE CENTRAL 
LABOUR COLLEGE. 

Copartnership in education is based on 
the same false economics as copartnership 
in labour , and they are both false beacons 
kindled by the same hand. — " The Plebb 
Magazine." (July, 1909, vol. I, No. 6. 
p. 112.) 

EDUCATIONAL WORK OP THE SOCIALIST LABOUR PARTY 

The S.L.P. was founded at Glasgow in 1903. 
Primarily a political party, it was more concerned 
with ideas as to the industrial reconstruction of 
society than with politics as ordinarily understood. 
It was keen on educational work for the diffusion 
of these ideas. Thus its principal activities for 
many years were educational. It devoted great 
attention to establishing an independent press, the 
Socialist Labour Press, by which numerous im- 
portant reprints and not a few original pamphlets 
were issued. These constituted the first textbooks 
of the classes for Independent Working-Class 
Education in Britain. When Yates left Scotland 
and Connolly had gone to America, the Marxist 
classes on the Clyde were mainly conducted by 
comrades who are still actively interested in In- 
dependent Working-Class Education; Tom Clark, 

53 



54 PEOLETCULT 



T. Bell, and William Paul. The influence of the 
Clyde classes no doubt counted for a good deal in 
the events now to be described, and the name of 
the Plebs League was suggested by one of the 
S.L.P. reprints, Daniel de Leon's Two Pages from 
Roman History. 

THE RIFT IN THE LUTE AT RUSKIN 

The Plebs League and the Labour Colleges are 
the most typical British expressions of the spirit 
of prerevolutionary Proletcult. It was through 
the foundation of the League that British Prolet- 
cult became fully aware of its own mission. The 
movement for revolutionary education is now 
world-wide. But its most effective incorporation 
is little more than twelve years old. On November 
24, 1908, the Plebs League was founded at Oxford 
by a group of Buskin College students who were 
dissatisfied with the educational trend of that in- 
stitution. At the outset, Buskin College had been 
quasi-revolutionary. Walter Vrooman, one* of the 
American founders, spoke as follows at the in- 
augural meeting in 1899 : " We shall take men 
who have been merely condemning our social in- 
stitutions, and will teach them instead how to 
transform those institutions, so that in place of 
talking against the world, they will begin me- 
thodically and scientifically to possess the world, 
to refashion it, and to cooperate with the power 
behind evolution in making it the joyous abode of, 
if not a perfected humanity, at least a humanity 
earnestly and rationally striving towards perfec- 
tion." Quasi-revolutionary aspirations, plus Up- 
lift! Could not the prefix to " revolutionary " 



PLEBS LEAGUE AND LABOUR COLLEGE 55 

have been dropped with the Uplift — after the 
Vroomans had departed to the land of their birth, 
and when labour elements had been increasingly 
associated with Buskin College? Could not the 
College have become the first vigorous centre for 
revolutionary education? For various reasons, 
among which the connection with the university 
was perhaps the most potent, things were not to 
work out that way. In actual fact, Proletcult was 
to materialise as a revolt against the reactionary 
tendencies which ere long gained the upper hand 
at Buskin College. 

When the founders' financial support had been 
entirely withdrawn, Buskin College, having lost 
its benevolent " patrons, " had to seek other sources 
of supply. It appealed to the trade unions for 
funds, and was able to get along with trade-union 
grants and private subscriptions. It came to be 
regarded as a Labour College; and in 1907 the 
Parliamentary Committee of the Trade-Union 
Congress issued an appeal on its behalf. But at 
the very time when the College was securing in- 
creased support from organised labour, and when 
it had become the exception for any but trade 
unionists to enter as students, the governors of the 
College were inviting pecuniary aid from private 
individuals on the ground that the aim of the 
institution was " to give working men a sound 
practical knowledge of subjects which concern 
them as citizens, thus enabling them to view social 
questions sanely, and without unworthy class- 
bias." Another appeal states that " Buskin Col- 
lege may do something to dissipate the suspicions 
which threaten the solidarity of society in England 



56 PROLETCULT 



to-day." It was evident that the social solidarians 
were in the saddle, and were determined to ride 
the College along the broad highway leading 
through the land of industrial peace. But among 
the students were men drawn from regions of in- 
dustrial strife, and with minds immune to the 
virus of " university influence," 

It was inevitable that these men, who from 
earliest childhod had been intimately acquainted 
with the realities of the class war, should refuse 
to accept the economic doctrines of the master 
class. Those who had been grounded in the labour 
theory of value naturally grew impatient when 
they were blandly informed that " wages are the 
sacrifice employers have to make in order to get 
work done." Such teaching seemed to them hope- 
lessly out of date. They had come to Oxford to 
fit themselves for service in the labour movement, 
and they had to listen to ideas which conflicted 
with the basic principles of that movement. It 
was obvious to them that the education doled out 
to them was being given in the interests of the 
bourgeoisie, and gradually there dawned upon 
their minds the notion that independence in edu- 
cation is no less essential to the working class 
than independence on the industrial and political 
fields. Some of the students came to constitute at 
Ruskin what would nowadays be termed a " ginger 
group." In 1907 many of them began to form 
classes among themselves for the independent con- 
sideration of the subjects which they regarded as 
of primary interest. Finally the Plebs League 
took shape at Oxford in the latter part of 1908. 
The South Wales Wing of the Plebs came into 



PLEBS LEAGUE AND LABOUR COLLEGE 57 

existence at Cardiff on January 2nd, 1909, at a 
meeting convened by students and ex- students of 
Ruskin College and a few sympathisers. In Feb- 
ruary, 1909, appeared the first issue of " The Plebs 
Magazine, " the monthly organ of the League. 

THE PLEBS MAGAZINE AND THE PLEBS LEAGUE 

The genesis of the Proletcult idea can be best 
understood from a study of the early numbers of 
the magazine. The object and constitution of the 
League are printed on the second page of the cover. 
Here, in the first three issues, we read as object : 
" to bring about a more satisfactory connection 
between Ruskin College and the Labour Move- 
ment." In the May, 1909, issue, this clause has 
been expunged, and instead, there is a large-type 
legend : NOW BEING VOTED UPON. In June 
the object has become : "to assist in the forma- 
tion of a Central Labour College for working men 
and women, at Oxford, and other similar institu- 
tions elsewhere, to be controlled by organised 
Labour bodies. " In November, 1909, we read in 
the same place as object : " to further the interests 
of the Central Labour College, for working men 
and women, at Oxford, and to assist in the forma- 
tion of similar institutions elsewhere, all of these 
institutions being controlled by organised Labour 
bodies.'' In November, 1911, when all connection 
with the university town had been severed, the 
words " at Oxford " were replaced by the words 
" at London/' > 

What was happening in the spring of 1909? A 
strike among the students of Euskin College, cen- 
tring round the personality of Dennis Hird, Prin- 



58 PKOLETCULT 



eipal of the College, who had been compelled by 
the governing body to resign. But the substantial 
cause of the strike was the dissatisfaction of the 
students with the social solidarian character of the 
teaching of controversial subjects like economics 
and industrial history, and their desire for Inde- 
pendent Working- Class Education animated with 
the spirit of the class war. The struggle of prin- 
ciple crystallised a few weeks later round another 
personality, one of the students, George Sims by 
name (now secretary of the Labour College), who 
was victimised by dismissal from Buskin for the 
prominent part he had taken upon the students' 
strike committee. Two other students were ex- 
pelled shortly afterwards : W. W. Craik, of the 
Amalgamated Society of Railway Servants, now 
Principal of the London Labour College; and B. 
McKay, of the United Kingdom Society of Coach- 
makers. 

The formation of the Central Labour College will 
be considered in a moment. We must first study 
the development of proletarian ideology in the 
early issues of the " Plebs Magazine." This 
periodical was run entirely by students and ex- 
students, and was probably all the more effective 
on that account. Dennis Hird was to have been 
editor, but the College Executive (this was prior 
to the enforced resignation of the principal) de- 
cided that no member of the staff was to be as- 
sociated in any way with the Plebs League or the 
Plebs Magazine. 

Quite natural was this decision of the social 
solidarians, since in the very first number of the 
" Plebs" we are editorially informed that the 



PLEBS LEAGUE AND LABOUR COLLEGE 59 

mission of the League is to ensure workers' con- 
trol of the College — not only of finance, but also of 
the curriculum — (of course this really meant left- 
wing workers' control), and to bring it about that 
V the education imparted there shall be of a kind 
and a quality capable of application in the interests 
of the working class/' The mandate of the League 
is to secure " the education of the workers in the 
interests of the workers." The aim of the Oxford 
influence, in the education given to working-class 
students at Euskin College, is, says the March 
"Plebs," to produce " the synoptic mind." This 
means that " the brains of those who are likely to 
lead their fellows are to be surcharged with the 
ideas of a class above them, so that their [imagined] 
interests may become identical with the interests 
of that class." By April, 1909, has come a definite 
assertion that "proletarian logic is in perpetual 
antagonism with the logic of our rulers." Again, 
"no working-class student can undergo a uni- 
versity education and come through it untainted." 
Yet again, ." university life is the breeding ground 
of reaction." Furthermore, anent a proposal to 
found a Plebs College in South Wales, " the es- 
tablishment of working-class colleges throughout 
the country, owned and controlled by the workers 
themselves, will do more to hasten the hour of 
economic deliverance than anything else we know 
of." Is it surprising that this Kake's Progress 
towards revolutionary Proletcult should have 
frightened the social solidarians; that it should 
have led them to dismiss Hird and to victimise 
the rebel students, thus accelerating the definite 
cleavage in outlook and action which was to cul- 



60 PROLETCULT 



minate in the foundation of the Central Labour 
College? 

Hence by May, 1909, the object of tfce Plebs 
League had to be transformed. It was now " to 
assist in the establishing of a new educational 
structure definitely controlled by organised la- 
bour. " Concurrently, the theory of Proletcult as 
expounded in the " Plebs Magazine " becomes even 
clearer cut. " The time has arrived when the 
working class must control its own education, 
when the new structure must be . . . free from 
any entangling associations with those who govern 
us" (May). " The second day of August will 
witness the Declaration of Working-Class Inde- 
pendence in Education " (June). " Copartnership 
in education is based on the same false economics 
as copartnership in labour, and they are both false 
beacons kindled by the same hand" (July). The 
" gingering-up " of the Plebs policy secured 
definite expression in the foundation of the Cen- 
tral Labour College as a rival to Ruskin. On the 
agenda for the first annual meet of the League, 
held in August, 1909, the item of chief importance 
was the affirmation of the aforesaid Principle of 
Independence in Working-Class Education. Passed 
by acclamation, it ran as follows : " This confer- 
ence of workers declares that the time has now 
arrived when the working class should enter the 
educational world to work out its problems for 
itself." In conjunction with the foundation of the 
Central Labour College, this may be regarded as 
the practical inauguration of Proletcult in Britain. 
It was probably the first clear manifestation in 
any part of the world of the conviction that the 



PLEBS LEAGUE AND LABOUR COLLEGE 61 

revolutionary workers must supplement political 
organisation and mass action by the policy of 
Independent Working-Class Education. 

THE CENTRAL LABOUR COLLEGE 

The Plebs League was, and remains, a com- 
paratively small propagandist group. It can 
supply " ginger"; it can disseminate the " Fer- 
ment of Revolution " in the educational field; but 
it has neither the numerical strength nor the finan- 
cial backing which would enable it to found and 
maintain educational institutions. That must be 
the work of organised labour. In so far as these 
institutions aim at revolutionary education, it 
must be the work of the left wing of organised 
labour. Some of the great trade unions which had 
sent students to Ruskin College were not slow to 
support the movement of revolt. British organised 
labour as a whole is still far from understanding 
the nature of the issues as between the Central 
Labour College and Ruskin College, and as between 
.the Plebs League and the W.E.A. It is prepared 
to give almost undiscriminating support to any- 
thing which is entitled to calJ itself " education. " 
The amazing assertion of Arthur Greenwood (Cam- 
bridge Essays on Adult Education, pp. 122-3) that 
" in spite of the divergence of policy and method 
between these different agencies they possess a 
fundamental unity of aim," still secures credence 
from the confusionists. Confusion is perhaps 
worse confounded by the teaching of reputed left 
wingers like G. D. H. Cole, who tries to establish 
an impossible distinction between "education " and 
" propaganda " (W.E.A. Year Book, 1918, p. 372). 



62 PEOLETCULT 



It is, therefore, not surprising that rival propa- 
gandist organisations like the Plebs League and 
the W.E.A., rival educational institutions like 
Euskin College and the Central Labour College, 
should receive the "impartial" support of in- 
dividuals and sections in the labour movement. 
But the issues are clearing, and the logic of events 
will force even the laggards to take a side. Mean- 
while the trade-union basis of the Labour College 
in London is little more extensive than that of 
the original institution founded at Oxford in 1909, 
and then known as the Central Labour College. 
It was transferred to London in 1911. The name 
Labour College instead of Central Labour College 
dates only from 1917. Its actual backers and con- 
trollers at the present time are the South Wales 
Miners' Federation and the National Union of 
Eailwaymen, but several other unions maintain 
resident students at the College. The Labour Col- 
lege (like Euskin College) was closed during the 
war. Its activities are now being greatly extended, 
and new premises are being arranged for at Kew. 
Throughout all the years of its existence, the 
Labour College has had no doubt as to its Prolet- 
cultural mission. Here are the words of the latest 
prospectus. " The Labour College was established 
with the object of equipping the organised workers 
with the knowledge adequate for the accomplish- 
ment of their industrial and political tasks. . . . 
Because of the existing economic order of society, 
with its inevitable cleavage of classes due to two 
distinct economic roles, and the resulting clash of 
conflicting interests as it expresses itself in the 
struggle between the organised workers and the 



PLEBS LEAGUE AND LABOUR COLLEGE 63 

owners of capital, the development of social science 
has been greatly impeded. . . . Working-class 
education must be independent of all the conven- 
tional institutions of education, and . . . must 
take a partisan form . . . the form of that 
class which can alone serve the advancement of 
social science, the science which can alone serve the 
advancement of that class." Here once again, 
though the word proletariat does not appear in the 
prospectus, we have an unmistakable proclamation 
of the gospel of proletarian culture. 



CHAPTER SIX 

THE FERMENT OF THE WORLD 
REVOLUTION 

The workers' vanguard , the party of the 
commimists and the bolsheviks, struggles 
everywhere, not only for economic freedom, 
but for the spiritual liberation of the toil- 
ing masses. Hitherto the master class, 
by its control of newspapers, books, and 
schools, has forged chains for the workers. 
Organs of enlightenment have been cleverly 
converted into means for dulling the minds 
of the people. Economic enfranchisement 
will come far more quickly when the 
workers of town and country can clear 
their minds of the poison of bourgeois 
ideology. — Buharin. (Programme of the 
World Revolution, Chapter xvii.) 

FERRER AND THE MODERN SCHOOLS 

Proletcult is a worldwide movement. The new 
ideology originates spontaneously wherever the 
appropriate economic conditions ripen. This state- 
ment does not imply acceptance of the fatalistic 
version of Marxism commonly put forward by 
opponents of the materialist conception of history. 
The essence of Proletcult is the idea that, while 
what men think is largely engendered by the ma- 
terial conditions of their existence, and above all 

64 



FERMENT OF THE WORLD REVOLUTION 65 

by the dominant types of social production, these 
thoughts react upon the material conditions, and 
in revolutionary epochs come to exercise a cata- 
clysmic transformative influence. During the de- 
clining phase of capitalism, the new philosophy of 
the proletariat is becoming a decisive factor in the 
overthrow of the old order and the upbuilding of 
the new. In a brief exposition like the present it 
will obviously be impossible to attempt a detailed 
survey of the international origins of proletarian 
culture, and we must content ourselves with select- 
ing a few salient instances. One of the most not- 
able of these was the work of the philosophic 
anarchist Francisco Ferrer y Guardia, shot at 
Barcelona on October 12, 1909, having been sen- 
tenced by court martial for alleged complicity in 
a rising there. The death of Ferrer and the sup- 
pression of the Modern Schools by the Spanish 
government, made the movement he had initiated 
abortive. But in principle he was working upon 
the lines of prerevolutionary Proletcult, as a few 
extracts from his writings will show. They are 
taken from Joseph McOabe's translation of Fer- 
rer's The Origin and Ideals of the Modern School. 
In the " Bulletin of the Modern School " (issue 
of May 10, 1905), commenting on a recent lecture, 

Ferrer wrote : " Sen or relies upon the 

State, upon parliament or municipalities, for the 
building, equipment, and management of scholastic 
institutions. This seems to me a great mistake. 
If n^odern pedagogy means an effort towards the 
realisation of a new and more just form of so- 
ciety; if it means that we propose to instruct the 
rising generation in the causes which have brought 

5 



66 PROLETCULT 



about and maintain the lack of social equilibrium ; 
if it means that we are anxious to prepare the race 
for better days, freeing it from religious Action 
and from all idea of submission to an inevitable 
socio-economic inequality ; we cannot entrust it to 
the State nor to other official organisms which 
necessarily maintain existing privileges and sup- 
port the laws which at present consecrate the ex- 
ploitation of one man by another, the pernicious 
source of the worst abuses" (op. cit. pp. 34/5). 
. . . " It is true that children of all classes may 
attend the Belgian schools; but the instruction 
that is given in them is based on the supposed 
eternal necessity for a division of rich and poor " 
(p. 35). . . ~ " We shall be asked, What are 
we to do if we cannot rely on the aid of the State, 
of parliament, or municipalities? We must ap- 
peal to those whose interest it is to bring about 
a reform; to the workers, in the first place" (p. 
36). In 1908, Ferrer wrote : " Rulers have always 
taken care to control the education of the people; 
they know better than any that their power is 
based entirely on the schools, and they therefore 
insist on maintaining their monopoly." 

Many other passages might be quoted to show 
how Ferrer had grasped the elements of the Pro- 
letcultural idea, and wished to apply it in the 
education of the young. In his epilogue on p. 110 
McCabe writes : " All that can be questioned is 
the teaching of an explicit social creed to children. 
Ferrer would have rejoined that there was not a 
school in Europe that does not teach an explicit 
social creed." 



FERMENT OF THE WORLD REVOLUTION 67 

THE FRENCH SYNDICALISTS 

More definite formulation of Proletcult is found 
in the writings of the French syndicalists, and 
notably in the works of Edouard Berth, Fernand 
Pelloutier, and Hubert Lagardelle. This develop- 
ment was more significant than that of Ferrer's 
Modern School, for it occurred in a country of 
higher capitalist development than Spain, and in 
minds dominated by the notion that the mass 
action of organised labour was destined to be of 
supreme importance in bringing about the social 
revolution. We do not wish to underrate the 
significance of anarchist contributions to the revo- 
lutionary movement. But there will have to be 
considerable periods of Proletcult both prerevo- 
lutionary and postrevolutionary before most of the 
anarchist tenets can become "practical politics." 

Berth, in his Dialogues Socialistes (1901), makes 
the socialist interlocutor Darville criticise the 
" Popular Universities " — French counterparts of 
W.E.A. and University Extension activities, now 
practically extinct. What is wrong with them, 
says Darville, is that they aim at promoting social 
peace and class collaboration, whereas what is 
essential to working-class progress is education in 
the class struggle (p. 2, et seq.). Each class has 
its own psychology and its own morality. These 
are mainly determined by economic conditions. 
The unity of the " people " is a figment (pp. 27/8). 
Essentially, the socialist movement is a movement 
of proletarian education, of social pedagogy (p. 36). 

Lagardelle voices a more explicit demand *for 
Independent Working-Class Education in " Le 



68 PEOLETOULT 



Mouvement Socialiste" for October, 1906 (article 
reprinted as " The School and the Proletariat " 
in a volume published in 1911, entitled " Le 
Socialisms Ouvrier," pp. 127/31). Laga-rdelle, 
too, is criticising the Popular Universities. Their 
aim is " to corrupt the popular mind " by educa- 
tional influences emanating from the capitalist 
State. It is absolutely essential, he contends, that 
the proletariat should cultivate its own ideology. 
Enough of these foreshadowings of the theory of 
Proletcult. In Spain, for the last decade, the re- 
action has been so firmly enthroned that little 
progress seems to have been made along the lines 
sketched by Ferrer, though doubtless in Catalonia 
and other regions of advanced industrial develop- 
ment the historic processes will ere long assume 
the same forms as elsewhere. In France, we learn, 
the Communist Party is about to cooperate with 
the left wing of organised labour to engage in 
educational activities wherein British experience 
may prove a useful guide. Let us turn to the 
United States, where theory and practice have 
been working hand in hand quite as long as in 
Great Britain. 

WORKERS' EDUCATION IN THE AMERICAS 

The Band School of Social Science in New York 
City was the pioneer institution of its kind in the 
States. It is described as " an autonomously 
organised educational auxiliary to the socialist 
and labour movement of the U.S." It was founded 
in the year 1906, and, like Buskin College, was the 
outcome of private initiative. The original en- 
dowments have been withdrawn. At the present 



FERMENT OF THE WORLD REVOLUTION 69 

time nearly half the cost of maintenance is sup- 
plied by tuition fees; literature sales help the 
finances ; the balance of many thousands of dollars 
a year has to be raised by contributions. The chief 
courses are in the social sciences — history, political 
science, and economics. Great attention is devoted 
to English and to public speaking. The former of 
these two subjects demands especial care, in view 
of the polyglot sources of the stream of American 
immigration; a common tongue is essential to a 
common culture, be that culture bourgeois or 
proletarian. The programme of the Rand School 
is less explicitly class conscious and class war in 
its tone than that of the British Labour Colleges. 
It must be remembered that in the U.S. the left 
wing of the industrial and political movement has 
been driven underground by the forces of capitalist 
reaction. The independent labour educationists 
have to walk warily. But the Rand School has 
been the subject of hostile attention from 
" patriotic " mobs and from the powers-that-be, 
and it is a more advanced body than is super- 
ficially apparent. The students attending its 
classes now number about 5,000 annually. 

In 1911 a Modern School was founded in New 
York City in commemoration of Francisco Ferrer 
— beginning with one pupil and one teacher. It 
is conducted on Ferrer's educational principles. 
In 1916 it was transferred to Stelton, New Jersey. 
This is for child education, a boarding-school for 
libertarian training. It has its place in the present 
volume inasmuch as it is a self-governing school 
for proletarian children, is under proletarian con- 
trol, and is imbued ufrith the proletarian spirit. 



70 PEOLETCULT 



At the same time it is extraordinarily advanced in 
its pedagogic methods, the education being guided 
by the discoveries of the New Psychology. It is 
co-educational and combines manual with mental 
training. It publishes a monthly magazine, " The 
Modern School/ ' which is now printed by the 
pupils. We doubt whether a finer example of a 
Proletcultural school can be found even in Soviet 
Russia. 

During the last few years, all over the States, 
educational movements have been arising under 
the direct impulsion of organised labour. One of 
the first of these originated in 1914 in connection 
with the International Ladies' Garment Workers' 
Union, which runs a Workers' University in New 
York City and is also in close touch with the Rand 
School. This union organised educational classes 
for all its members during a recent strike. The 
unions of the clothing industry are industrial in 
structure. They are largely dominated by the 
Jewish mind, which is alert, eager for informa- 
tion, open to new ideas. The progress in these 
branches of industry is illustrative both of the 
causes and the effects of adult education on the 
workers. In 1918, there was formed in New York 
a United Labour Education Committee, to which 
more than 30 unions are affiliated. This body 
conducts classes in economics, industrial history, 
correction of accent (see above!), socialism, etc. 
It cooperates with the Rand School, and has prac- 
tically divorced its activities from the public school 
system. That is to say, it is out for Independent 
Working-Class Education. Its classes are held in 
union headquarters. It accepts no contributions 



FERMENT OF THE WORLD REVOLUTION 71 

from individuals, nor from any but labour or- 
ganisations. 

For lack of space, a still briefer survey is all that 
can be taken of post-war developments in other 
states of the American LTnion. The Pennsylvania 
Federation of Labour' has since May, 1920, had 
its own "Department of Education." (The 
American revolutionary will is prone to find ex- 
pression in somewhat grandiloquent titles !) Its 
labour colleges and classes are strictly under union 
control, but its "instructors are recruited from 
the more liberal and sympathetic local university 
professors. " This has a somewhat W.E.A.-ish 
llavour. But, as with the Tutorial Classes in 
Britain, the influence of the new spirit is strong. 
The two- hour class consists not only of lectures 
from on high, but of disquisitions by the students, 
with " quiz and discussion." And it is satisfactory 
to learn that whereas at first the classes mostly 
met in the State schoolrooms, the use of these 
rooms has of late " been refused by the different 
school boards, although not a single charge was 
ever brought against any of the students, in- 
structors, etc." 

The Chicago Classes of the joint committee of 
the Chicago Federation of Labour and the Women's 
Trade Union League of Chicago are run in co- 
operation with the State Board of Education and 
must presumably be of a Pink complexion. Bos- 
ton, on the other hand, though it is the fount of 
highbrow "culture" in the States, is more ad- 
vanced than the industrial metropolis of Illinois. 
The Trade Union College under the auspices of 
the Boston Central Labour Union was organised 



72 PKOLETCULT 



immediately after the war " to prepare the workers 
of New England for the role of increasing im- 
portance which labour is to play in the new social 
order. . . . No financial help from the State 
Board of Education, from University Extension, 
or from rich benefactors, has been accepted, al- 
though it has more than once been tentatively 
offered." The college is open to all wage workers, 
whether affiliated to the American Federation of 
Labour or not. 

A few additional quotations must suffice to in- 
dicate how widespread, and on the whole how 
sound in direction, is the movement for Independ- 
ent Working-Class Education in the U.S. The 
Cooperative Movement conducts three schools in 
New York, and these schools publish a monthly 
journal "Cooperative Education." Another 
periodical, "Cooperation," writes of the schools: 
" These pioneer student bodies are doing the most 
radical thing which has been done in education 
since the free public school was established." 
(One gathers that in America, as in Britain, the 
cooperative movement, though cooperator con- 
scious, is not as yet fully class conscious). 

The Workers' College of Seattle, founded in 
1919, is housed in "The Labour Temple." At 
first it was unduly influenced by the State Uni- 
versity, from which the teachers were drawn. " In 
the case of one or two of the professors this teach- 
ing and influence were offensive to the workers." 
The College now runs its own show, and it sums 
up in the following terms its conception of labour 
education : " Education in our universities and 
colleges is essentially capitalistic, in that it glori- 



FERMENT OF THE WORLD REVOLUTION 73 

ties competition and seeks to produce an efficient 
individual. Education that may be properly called 
labour education is essentially socialistic, in that 
it glorifies cooperation and seeks to produce an 
efficient industrial and social order." (From 
Bourgeoiscult to Proletcult, in fact!). At the 
1920 Convention of the Wisconsin State Federation 
of Labour, the Executive reported : " On certain 
controversial subjects, such as labour history, co- 
operative and governmental enterprises, it may be 
found necessary, even desirable, that unionists 
should organise their own classes and employ 
teachers whom they can trust to give them facts." 
Enough ! The ferment of revolutionary educa- 
tion is at work throughout the American Union. 
From the British colonies we have, so far, less 
encouraging information. The social solidarians 
have taken time by the forelock. Albert Mans- 
bridge made a world tour in 1913 and was in- 
strumental in establishing W.E.A. branches in 
various parts of Australia and Canada. But there 
are gleams of light from these darker regions of 
the world. A Labour College and Proletcult 
Group, adopting the Plebs League constitution, 
statement of aims, etc., a spontaneous growth of 
the vital impetus of creative revolution, has lately 
come to life in Ontario. Groups of left-wing 
socialists in Australia, South Africa, and New 
Zealand, run classes which are in touch with the 
Plebs League. The Australian railwaymen have 
issued a special edition of W. W. Craik's Short 
History of the Modern Working -Glass Movement, 
referring to it in their preface as " the admirable 
textbook by the Principal of the Labour College/' 



74 PBOLETCULT 



No more than scrappy information can be given 
regarding Proletcult in the vast areas of Spanish 
America. The two countries where capitalist de- 
velopment and proletarianisation are most ad- 
vanced, Mexico and Argentina, are the seats of 
extensive proletarian educational activities. In 
Mexico, which as a whole is moving in a socialist 
direction, there is a Labour College in Mexico City, 
supported by the Federation of Syndicates (i.e. 
Trade Unions). It aims at the establishment 
of schools for workers throughout the country, 
".thus laying the foundation of scientific working- 
class education in Mexico." But it does not appear 
that this is class-conscious education. 

In Argentina the Socialist Party is reformist, 
and has refused to affiliate to the Third Inter- 
national. The Party is extremely active in the 
educational field, but its views on education are 
nowise revolutionary. It cooperates with an edu- 
cational body called the Sociedad Luz [Light], 
founded in 1899, whose ideas resemble those of the 
W.E.A. But there are two distinctive features of 
all this working-class instruction in Argentina : 
it is strongly anti-clerical and rationalist ; and an 
anti-alcohol campaign is a perennial activity. By 
the rules of the Socialist Party every branch must 
have a branch library, and must keep it up-to- 
date. There are about two hundred such libraries. 
In Buenos- Ayres there is an extensive Workers' 
Library which receives trade-union support. Un- 
fortunately we have no information as to Prolet- 
cnltural work on the part of the left-wing or- 
ganisation which was until recently known as the 
International Socialist Party of the Argentine 



FERMENT OF THE WORLD REVOLUTION 75 

Republic, but which has now become the Argentine 
Section of the Communist International. 

GERMANY : 1, THEORY 

This book is mainly concerned with Proletcult 
in Britain. The postrevolutionary Proletcult of 
Russia will be the theme of a special chapter. In 
another chapter, where the educational work of 
the Young Communist movement will be discussed, 
the activities of various groups of foreign comrades 
will receive attention. For the rest, in this sketch 
of a sketch — there is no space for more — of the 
ferment of the world revolution, the only other 
country which can be considered in any detail is 
Germany. German theory and German practice 
of Proletcult deserve the closest study. With 
characteristic Teutonic thoroughness those among 
the German communists who have recognized the 
fundamental importance of Independent Working - 
Class Education are applying themselves to the 
discovery of the right principles of application. 

Some of them have been in close touch with 
Moscow and Petrograd since the first All-Russian 
Proletcult Congress was held in the autumn of 
1918. Recognising from the start the differences 
between Proletcult in its prerevolutionary and its 
postrevolutionary phase, they have founded an 
" Initiative Committee" for the working out of 
Proletcultural problems in a land that has just 
achieved a spurious revolution. The ideas of this 
committee may be summarised as follows. 

1. Owing to the increasing intensity of the class 
struggle in Germany, the forces of the proletariat 
must be mobilised in every possible way. Thus 



76 PROLETCULT 



only can the workers make headway against the 
counter-revolution. 2. Press, school, cinema, 
church, and literature, all the so-called cultural 
institutions, are weapons in the bourgeois arsenal, 
and are used by the bourgeoisie to paralyse the 
revolutionary impetus of the toilers. Conse- 
quently, bourgeois ideology is dominant, even 
among the ranks of the organised workers. 3. 
The proletariat must use the same weapons against 
the bourgeoisie, must array a front of proletarian 
culture against the forces of bourgeois culture. 
The day of the victory of the workers will draw 
nearer in proportion as the masses become ideo- 
logically independent of the sinister mental influ- 
ences of capitalism. 4. For the conquest of power, 
the workers must make themselves acquainted, 
from their own specific outlook, with all the 
problems of industrial and political life. Other- 
wise, the bourgeois intellectuals will be able to 
sabotage the revolution in innumerable ways. For 
the right use of power, preparatory educational 
work is essential. 5. The social revolution does 
not merely imply a new method in economics, a 
soviet system, and the dictatorship of the prole- 
tariat. It involves in addition the establishment 
of a new culture, proletarian, by origin, and sub- 
sequently the first universal culture of mankind. 
The beginnings of this culture are already mani- 
fest. It will revolutionise education, ethics, the 
press, art and science, the whole of public and 
private life. The immediate task of the proletariat, 
as the initiator of this new culture, is to assemble 
its creative energies for the unification and diffu- 
sion of Proletcult, 6, Germany needs a centralised 



FERMENT OF THE WORLD REVOLUTION 77 

Proletcultural League, supported by the organised 
workers, collaborating with and unifying the ac- 
tivities of all the bodies engaged in promoting 
Independent Working-Class Education. A Con- 
ference must be summoned as soon as possible to 
draw up a joint programme of Proletcult. 

GERMANY : 2, PRACTICE 

We are by no means enamoured of the proverbial 
wisdom contained in the adage, An ounce of 
practice is worth a pound of theory. It is because 
the theories of the Plebs League and the philosophy 
of the Labour Colleges are right that their prac- 
tice "gets there " every time. It is because the 
theory of the W.E.A. and the philosophy of the 
Tutorial Classes are wrong that the tendency of 
these organisations is to fill the bellies of the 
workers with east wind. But the Germans are 
skilful practitioners as well as sound theorists. In 
Berlin there is a body called the Ratebund or 
Soviet League, which runs a publishing house of 
its own. Its main activities, however, are educa- 
tional. It has Rateschulen or Soviet Schools based 
upon occupational groups ; and it issues a number 
of Ratelehrbucher or Soviet Textbooks. From one 
of these, Fritz Fricke's Die Ratcbildung im Klas- 
scnJcampf der Gegenwart (Soviet Culture in the 
Class Struggle To-day), a clear idea can be formed 
of the principles and methods of the organisation. 
The preface, written in October, 1920, would form 
an excellent Proletcult leaflet for any land of 
advanced capitalistic development, and would be 
especially suitable for distribution in Adult Schools 
and W.E.A. Tutorial Classes. " Members of the 



78 PKOLETOULT 



bourgeois parties, bourgeois educationists, present 
themselves in the form of educational pimps, 
firmly convinced that a stew compounded of all 
the ingredients of bourgeois culture is precisely 
what the workers need. ... But proletarian 
cultural institutions must no longer aim at stuffing 
the minds of the workers with a vague ' general 
knowledge.' The knowledge requisite is that which 
will enable the workers to realise communism. 
. . . Everything must be presented in the per- 
spective of the class struggle. . . . Soviet 
Schools, therefore, have a very different task from 
that which has hitherto been performed by such 
bodies as the Adult Schools. ... In these 
hard days we must turn out, not proletarian 
polymaths but proletarian warriors. " 

In the body of the book, the aims of this Soviet 
Culture are summarised as follows : (1) training 
of the workers for the unwearied occupation of 
all positions of power open to them within the 
capitalist system, or which they can conquer for 
themselves within that system ; (2) training of the 
workers with an eye to their responsibilities for 
the tasks of production and administration they 
will have to perform in the new social order; (3) 
the development of a proletarian intelligentsia, 
not to form a favoured labour caste, but to consist 
of a selection of especially competent workers, who 
will concentrate upon the effective waging of the 
class war. After the revolution the members of 
this proletarian intelligentsia will be able to devote 
themselves to the work of stabilising the gains of 
the revolution. 

It is not necessary to give details concerning 



FERMENT OF THE WORLD REVOLUTION 79 

subjects of study and methods of instruction in 
the Soviet Schools. London could learn from Ber- 
lin, and Berlin from London ; but, substantially, 
kindred minds faced by the same problems are 
working out the same solutions in Britain and in 
Germany. There, as here, the worst foes are per- 
haps those who claim to be of our own household, 
those who want to " do good" to the workers by 
showering upon them the gifts of an " impartial " 
culture. Such a culture, permeated with bourgeois 
ideology, w T ould appear to be given by most of the 
Popular High Schools which have come into exist- 
ence all over Germany since the revolution. 
" Doubtless," writes Fricke in conclusion, " there 
is requisite a general elevation of the cultural 
level of the working class. But such elevation 
must be sharply differentiated from the culture 
that bears a bourgeois complexion. It is only pos- 
sible to achieve this through the accommodation of 
all our cultural endeavours to the requirements 
of the class struggle." 



CHAPTER SEVEN 
PROLETCULT IN CHILDHOOD AND YOUTH 

One of the chief tasks of the educator 
is to safeguard the child from noxious sug- 
gestions. To preserve it from all sugges- 
tions is quite impossible. Suggestion is 
normal and necessary. Education as a 
whole is nothing but the application of sug- 
gestion.— Charles Baudouin. (Tolstoi Edu- 
cateur, p. 168.) 

GENERAL PRINCIPLES 

The Young Socialist movement is an organised 
attempt to counteract the noxious suggestions of 
capitalist schools and the capitalist environment 
by suggestions of a converse trend. In a pamphlet 
published in 1918 (Independent Workingdass 
Education), the present writers outlined an edu- 
cational policy for the workers which was to take 
the form of " contracting out " of State education. 
Let the great industrial unions take over the whole 
function of forming the minds of the children of 
their members, borrowing boldly for this purpose 
and turning to their own account the latest achieve- 
ments of the educational science which had been 
worked out under the existing order, and which 
the master class, a prey to routinism, was so slow 
to adopt. Let the workers institute their own 
infant schools on Montessori lines, establish New 

80 



PROLETCULT IN CHILDHOOD & YOUTH 81 

Schools for libertarian education, and with the aid 
of the Young Socialist movement continue the ap- 
plication of socialist or communist influences after 
the ordinal school age had been outgrown. Such 
an experiment in Independent Education was 
begun in Spain by the ill-fated Ferrer. A Ferrer 
Modern School similar to the one in New Jersey, 
U.S.A., is being opened in London as we write. 
Such experiments in Independent Education have 
recently been made in Austria by the Friends of 
Children and by the Proletarian School Com- 
munity. In Russia, the communist State is able 
to educate the whole nation for communism. 
Should the revolutionary crisis be long delayed in 
western lands, some such policy as we outlined 
may yet have to be adopted on a large scale. But 
meanwhile we have to consider what is actually 
being done to counteract the noxious educational 
suggestions of a capitalist environment and of 
bourgeois State education. In this country there 
is a considerable and growing movement for the 
establishment of part-time schools in which, during 
and shortly after school age, the socialist or com- 
munist mentality may be instilled into the children 
of the workers. 

THE SOCIALIST SUNDAY SCHOOL 
AND THE PROLETARIAN SCHOOL 

Socialist Sunday Schools were among the first 
definitely organised attempts to counteract the in- 
fluence of capitalist State education. The pioneer 
S.S.S. in Britain was opened by Mary Gray in 
Battersea during the year 1892. Two years later, 
Tom Anderson started a Socialist Sunday School 

6 



82 PEOLETCULT 



in Glasgow. The Socialist Sunday School move- 
ment in the U.S. was certainly contemporaneous 
with, if not anterior to this. Berenberg, writing 
in May, 1920, refers to the Americans as having 
been at work on these lines for " at least thirty 
years." On both sides of the Atlantic, such schools 
date from the nineties. 

At present in Britain the S.S.S. movement is 
in the hands of the social solidarians and not in 
those of such men as Islwyn Nicholas and Tom 
Anderson, exponents of the class war and of pro- 
letarian philosophy. " Undenominational re- 
ligious" influences are even more conspicuously 
at work in the S.S.S. than in the Adult School 
movement. Great play is made with abstractions 
which are as much beyond the grasp of the childish 
intelligence as are the nature of the Trinity, the 
differential calculus, or the materialist conception 
of history. The subtitle of " The Young Socialist " 
is " A Magazine of Justice and Love." In the last 
number to be issued before Christmas, 1920, we 
read an appeal on behalf of justice for every one, 
" not justice for this class or that class only, but 
justice for all classes." An excellent sentiment — 
•when we have done away with the fundamental 
injustice involved in the very existence ot a class 
that lives by ownership. In the classless State, it 
will be superfluous ; in the class State the demand 
for it confuses the issues of the class struggle. The 
champions of the S.S.S. movement are sincere in 
their desire to undo, be it by ever so little, the 
harm done by the capitalist and imperialist at- 
mosphere of the State schools. But their own 
ideology is petty bourgeois ; and it is not altogether 



PROLETCULT IN CHILDHOOD & YOUTH 83 

surprising that, as they complain, their activities 
should be cold-shouldered by the adult workers' 
movement. Revolutionary communists, at any 
rate, who study the S.S.S. literature, cannot es- 
cape a feeling of impatience at so much talk of 
love and good wishes. They angrily exclaim (with 
John S. Clarke in " The Awakened Bear, a Bol- 
shevik Ballad ") : 

The warfare of the classes isn't honey or molasses, 
And you'll need a sharper weapon than a kiss. 

What, then, are we to do in the case of children? 
Are we, when we can get hold of some of them 
for an hour or two once a week, to indoctrinate 
them with the class war, to teach them to patter 
the shibboleths of Marxist socialism? Ferrer, in 
the work already quoted, wrote sagely upon this 
point : "I venture to say quite plainly : the op- 
pressed and exploited have a right to rebel, because 
they have to reclaim their rights until they enjoy 
their full share in the common patrimony. The 
Modern School, however has to deal with children, 
whom it prepares by instruction for the state of 
manhood, and it must not anticipate the cravings 
and the hatreds, the adhesions and rebellions, 
which may be fitting sentiments in the adult. 
. . . Let it teach the children to be men ; when 
they are men, they may declare themselves rebels 
against injustice." 

It will be much easier for children, when they 
are grown up, to declare themselves rebels against 
injustice, if they have been trained in such an 
institution as the Modern School. At the Fifth 
Annual Convention of the Modern School Associa- 



84 PROLETCULT 



tion of North America, when the relation of the 
Association to labour organisations was being 
considered, one of the speakers pointed out that 
in the usual system of State education the first 
process of poisoning the mind of the individual 
begins at a very early age; and that by the time 
the child has spent four or five years at the or- 
dinary school it is ready to accept the lies of the 
capitalist press, pulpit, theatre, art, and every 
form of publicity which has for its aim the main- 
tenance of the present system of inequality. But 
the poison cannot be counteracted by premature 
indoctrination with the class war, any more than 
by glib phrases concerning justice and love. Young 
folk are quite uninterested in these high-sounding 
abstractions. At the Stelton school there was a 
magazine for the children entitled " The Path of 
Joy." But in accordance with the principle of 
libertarian education, the editorship and printing 
of this periodical have recently been entrusted to 
the pupils. They have renamed it " Us Kids " ! 
Critics of the S.S.S. movement in the States tell 
us that it has undertaken an almost impossible 
pedagogical task, and that " these enthusiasts 
ultimately succumb to lack of information in 
pedagogy and psychology." And yet, pending the 
revolution, if the proletariat cannot " contract 
out" of State education in the way suggested at 
the beginning of this chapter, something must be 
done for the children of the workers on the S.S.S. 
lines, but without the "S.S.S. spirit" — which is 
but a juvenile form of the W.E. A. spirit ! The 
Proletarian School for Children and Grown-TJps, 
founded in 1918, is an excellent counterblast to the 



PROLETCULT IN CHILD HOOD & YOUTH 85 

hazy sentimentalisin of the S.S.S. Tom Ander- 
son's activities in this field have attracted the 
unfavourable attention of the "Spectator" and 
the British Empire Union, which is sufficient to 
show that in many respects they must be well 
directed ! The movement has a good hold in Scot- 
land and Wales, and is making its way in the 
Midlands and the South. But the psychology of 
" Red Dawn," the monthly organ of the Pro- 
letarian School, is the psychology of the young 
adult, and not the psychology of the child. Pro- 
letcult for the young must be more ready than 
Bourgeoiscult for the young has yet proved, to 
avail itself of the latest advances in educational 
science. From educationists of the type of Adolphe 
Ferriere, for instance, from his Revolutionise the 
School (1920) and his many other writings, and 
from such books as Faria's A New School in Bel- 
gium, they must learn to apply, not merely the 
great principle of libertarian education, but the 
principle of making the proper appeal to the 
child's interests as these develop at successive ages. 
They must not in children from 7 to 12, when the 
interests are direct, specialised, and concrete, en- 
deavour to present the simple abstract interests 
proper to children of from 13 to 15, or the complex 
abstract interests proper to young people of from 
16 to 18. In a word, they must not " teach " 
young children abstract communism and the class 
war, any more than they should " teach " them 
the abstract inanities of the Athanasian creed. 
To live communism is another matter. But that 
privilege is at present reserved for the happy 
children of Soviet Russia. 



86 PROLETCULT 



The first requisite for the young educational 
movement in this country is to link it up with 
other organisations for left-wing education, such 
as the Plebs League and the various local councils 
for Independent Working-Class Education. The 
Labour Colleges can also be interested in the work, 
and ere long will be in a position to supply teachers 
grounded in the New Psychology and the newer 
educational methods. The next step, or a simul- 
taneous step, must be to link up more effectively 
with some of our continental comrades who are 
undertaking the communist education of workers' 
children bv sounder methods than have as vet been 
applied in Britain. The more advanced state of 
continental psychology in the field of educational 
practice can be learned from the opening numbers 
of •" Der Junge Genosse" (the Young Comrade), 
a bi-monthly which is now reaching us from Ber- 
lin, and from articles in " Die Junge Schweiz " 
(Young Switzerland), the organ of the Swiss 
Students. Though Switzerland is a bourgeois re- 
public, a capitalist State, it must be remembered 
that the Swiss students are among the most 
revolutionary in the world, and that Switzerland 
is the pioneer country in the science of education. 
The Proletarian Schools of Britain could learn 
much from the Proletarische Schulgemeinde (Pro- 
letarian School Community) of Vienna. 

SOCIALIST AND COMMUNIST YOUTH 

This topic deserves a volume to itself. His- 
torically the Young Socialist movement on the 
continent is closely associated with the gradual 
emergence of the Proletcultural idea. In con- 



PROLETCULT IN CHILDHOOD & YOUTH 87 

scrip tionist countries, notably in Belgium, the 
Young movement tended at the outset to assume 
a predominantly anti- militarist form; but it was 
essentially educational as well, an attempt to 
produce a steadfast socialist mentality in lads 
before they were seized by the capitalist military 
machine. If events move slowly, it will un- 
doubtedly be important to institute some such 
comprehensive scheme of educational propaganda. 
The difficulties of direct communist propaganda 
among the military and naval forces of the bour- 
geois State are well-nigh insuperable. But the 
permeation of these forces with nuclei of con- 
vinced communists able to act inconspicuously as 
centres of revolutionary education and influence, 
cannot fail to have a good effect. 

Actually at the present time the Young move- 
ment takes three different forms : that of Pink 
organisations under the direction of the social 
democratic parties which hold aloof from the Third 
International ; that of Red organisations imbued 
with the spirit of the Third International; and 
that of socialist and communist students and ex- 
students at the universities. The two former are 
proletarian in status, although from the outlook 
of this volume only the Communist Youth is dis- 
tinctively Proletcultural in trend. The members 
of the students' groups are bourgeois and semi- 
bourgeois in status, but are refreshingly revolu- 
tionary in their ideology. It is noteworthy that 
even in Britain, the University Socialist Federa- 
tion, though " socialist " in name, grows ever more 
clearly " communist " in outlook. It " is founded 
on the basis of the class war, to which all its 



88 PROLETOULT 



members are committed. It seeks to train its 
members to assist and take part in the proletarian 
movement." (This statement was issued to the 
Congress of Socialist and Communist Students 
held at Geneva in December, 1919. The aim of the 
British U.S.F. delegates in issuing it was expressly 
to dissociate themselves from the German Majority 
Socialists at the Congress), At present, Social 
Democrats and Communists remain grouped in a 
single Students' International. But the position 
is becoming untenable. A year ago, reporting to 
the U.S.F. on the Geneva Congress, the British 
delegates declared that " those who maintain the 
orthodox socialist position [i.e., the principles of 
the old social democracy on the continent, and 
those of the socialist members of the Parliamentary 
Labour Party in this country] are rapidly becom- 
ing identified w r ith the reactionary elements inside 
the socialist movement." 

In Britain, there is no clear-cut Young Socialist 
or Young Communist movement. The activities, 
and in especial the educational activities, under- 
taken by such bodies in continental Europe, are 
performed by organisations like the Proletarian 
School, the Young Socialist League, and the Plebs 
League. Time will show whether there is per- 
manent need for distinctive " Young " organisa- 
tions in each of the three chief fields of communist 
activity ; the industrial, the political, and the edu- 
cational. Here in Britain the Young Socialist 
league and the Young Labour League have just 
decided to amalgamate as the Young Workers' 
League affiliated to the Young Communist Inter- 
national. Anything is good which tends to pre- 



. 



PROLETCULT IN CHILDHOOD & YOUTH 89 

vent the dispersal of revolutionary energy ; but an 
attempt to " unite" hopelessly conflicting trends 
can only retard progress. Our own view favours 
the idea of three distinctive Eed Internationals : 
the Third International coordinating the political 
communist movement ; the Red Trade-Union Inter- 
national for the industrial movement; and $ Red 
International for revolutionary education or Pro- 
le tcult. Each of these could have its " Young " 
section. But the younger members of the move- 
ments have a vigorous and commendable desire for 
independence of the tutelage of their seniors. 

At Berlin, in the end of November, 1919, there 
was held a Congress of the International of Youth. 
The Congress aimed at the unification of the Red 
side of the Young movement under the aegis of 
the Third International. It established the 
Executive Committee of the Young Communist 
International, which issues a tri-monthly periodical 
in English, French, and German, the " Corres- 
pondence of the Young" International " ; and a 
monthly in German, Russian, Swedish, and Italian 
" The Young International." A full account of 
the Berlin Congress, and much additional infor- 
mation concerning the Young movement generally, 
will be found in Nos. 11 and 12 of the " Communist 
International." 



CHAPTER EIGHT 
PROLETCULT IN RUSSIA 

Education in Russia to-day is one form 
of the class struggle. — William Mellor. 
(Direct Action, p. 127.) 

LUNACHARSKY, ULIANOVA, AND POLIANSKY 

Lunacharsky is Commissar for Education in Soviet 
Russia. He has expounded his theory of Prolet- 
cult in an essay entitled The Cultural Tasks of the 
Working Glass: Universal Culture and Class Cul- 
ture. This was published in Russia in 1918, and 
a German translation was issued in Berlin im- 
mediately after the armistice. An abridged trans- 
lation, " Working-Class Culture/' appeared in the 
" Plebs Magazine " for October and November, 
1920. For Lunacharsky, proletarian culture is 
but the first stage. He is himself a humanist 
rather than a proletarian. " Humanity is march- 
ing irresistibly towards the internationalisation of 
culture." But we are still in the stage of national 
cultures and class cultures. Russia as a nation 
and the proletariat as a class have a supremely 
important part to play in the elaboration of what 
will ultimately become a universal culture. Primi- 
tive culture was universal. The culture of the 
classless world of the future will be universal. All 

90 



PROLETCULT IN RUSSIA 91 

the intermediate phases of culture have been the 
apanage of class, and proletarian culture can be 
no exception to the rule. Moreover, the proletarian 
must build upon the past. He must not, in his 
haste say, " To the devil with all bourgeois cul- 
ture. " He must not destroy the old temple in 
order to build up a perfectly new one. 

Thus universalist in his outlook, Lunacharsky 
is not an enthusiast for the fighting culture which 
we have termed prer evolutionary Proletcult. He 
recognises the need for this " highly specialised 
class culture, fashioned in conflict." But he is 
glad that his own lot is cast in postrevolutionary 
Russia, where he can consecrate his energies ^o 
the task of building the educational New Jeru- 
salem, while Lenin makes moves upon the diplo 
ma tic chessboard, and Trotsky with the Red Army 
guards the frontiers against the hordes of capitalist 
Europe and repels the onslaughts of the counter- 
revolution. We do not mean to imply that 
Lunacharsky could not show fight. None of the 
bolshevist leaders, none of the bolshevist rank and 
file, are pacifists, for pacifism is premature at this 
stage of the world's history. We conceive that 
Lunacharsky, like Archimedes during the siege of 
Syracuse, might have been willing to devote his 
powers to the designing of engines of war ; but we 
conceive also that in the sack of the city he would, 
like Archimedes, have lost his life in a fit of ab- 
sence of mind, exclaiming to one of the invading 
Kolchakists, " Don't disturb my circles! " Never- 
theless, the writer of the preface to the German 
edition of the above-quoted essay describes him as 
" one of the greatest intellectual forces alive in the 



92 PROLETCTJLT 



world to-day." Pokroffsky, his second in com- 
mand, professor of history under the old regime, 
is perhaps the most active organiser of the new 
education in Russia. 

Ulianova (Lenin's wife) is one of Lunaeharsky's 
most enthusiastic collaborators. Her views are 
summarised in the thesis she presented to the first 
All-Russian Proleteult Conference. At that time 
the bolsheviks, despite their disappointment the 
previous autumn, still believed the European 
revolution to be imminent. We trust it is. 
Perchance Europe does indeed " stand on the 
eve of the social revolution," though the mills 
of fate are grinding somewhat tnore slowly than 
many of us hoped in the last year of the war. 
Russia, at any rate, must prepare for either 
eventuality; for the temporary restabilisation of 
western capitalism, or for the conditions that will 
result from its final destruction. In Russia 
" children must be educated for the conditions 
under which they have to live. The rising genera- 
tion will have to live in a socialist society, and 
consequently needs a socialist education, a so- 
cialistic school." The overthrow of the exploiting 
class, the unification of social life in Russia, has 
rendered it possible to institute a unified system 
of schooling, to throw knowledge open to all, to 
develop to the uttermost the mental and physical 
capabilities of every Russian child. By socialist 
education it will be possible to realise Engels' 
description of socialism as " & leap from the realm 
of coercion to the realm of freedom." These prin- 
ciples of educational enfranchisement are now 
being practically realised in Soviet Russia. 



PROLETCULT IN RUSSIA 93 

Poliansky is the responsible director of advanced 
education in Soviet Russia. His account of Pro- 
letcult as a definite educational organisation with 
a membership of over 300,000, will be found in 
" The Plebs " for January, 1921. But for his con- 
ception of Proletcult as a theory and a method we 
turn by preference to his thesis presented to the 
Proletcult Conference, and reproduced in the 
October, 1920, issue of the German monthly " Sow- 
jet." Much more explicitly than Lunacharsky 
or Ulianova, Poliansky expounds Proletcult on 
Marxist lines. " The masses have been infected 
with petty bourgeois and anarchistic sentiments; 
their minds have been poisoned with capitalistic 
bourgeois culture. The only antidote to this poison 
is an independent and strictly working-class cul- 
ture. . . . Cultural independence for the pro- 
letariat must be our watchword. . * . Whereas 
formerly the labour movement has developed in 
the political and economic struggle, a third form 
of struggle, that of revolutionary education, has 
now become essential. This must be no less in- 
dependent than the other two." Poliansky shows, 
as we ourselves indicated on pp. 26-7, how feudalism 
had its own class culture and philosophy, which 
was religious and authoritarian; and how the 
French Revolution was based upon a new ideology, 
that of the individualist philosophers of the rising 
bourgeois class. The rise of socialism will be 
signalised by the growth of yet another culture, 
the socialist culture of the proletariat. The work 
of the new enlightenment has two provinces ; one 
simply instructive, the other creative and revolu- 
tionary. In Russia, where there has been so little 



94 PROLETCULT 



" popular education" even of the capitalist kind, 
the work of elementary instruction is a titanic 
task. But important as this is, it pales in sig- 
nificance when compared with the work of creative 
revolution, with the development of the new pro- 
letarian ideology in art, ethics, and science. The 
Russian proletariat has to create its own culture, 
which will be sharply distinguished from the cul- 
ture of capitalistic countries. " The material vic- 
tory over the bourgeoisie must be followed up by 
a spiritual victory." More than two years ago, 
in an article published by " Le Populaire " (Jan. 
20, 1919), Maxim Gorky declared that the creative 
cultural work of the Russian government had be- 
gun to leap forward in a way unprecedented in 
human history. Its magnificence, he said, would 
not fail to arouse the admiration of future his- 
torians. 

BOGDANOFF 

The most uncompromising, and unquestionably 
the most interesting, among the Russian theorists 
of Proletcult is Bogdanoff. We have not had the 
advantage of consulting the Russian original of 
his essay on Science and the Working Glass, but 
an excellent German translation was published last 
year in Berlin. This pamphlet, to quote the trans- 
lator's introduction, proclaims " the certain truth 
that proletarian philosophy will bring salvation to 
mankind." 

Bogdanoff opens with a definition of science. It 
is the organised experience of the human working 
fellowship. Science, he holds, originated in the 
practical needs of the working life, as a weapon 



PKOLETCULT IN RUSSIA 95 

in the struggle for existence. Astronomy, for 
example, was indispensable to the early agricul- 
turists, to enable them to regulate their seasonal 
occupations. Only at a later stage, when civilisa- 
tion had assumed the forms of class differentiation 
which still persist to-day, was this science with- 
drawn from the common folk to become the pri- 
vilege of a priestly caste, which used it as a means 
for maintaining itself in power. Since unremitting 
toil is the lot of the lower class, while leisure is 
an exclusive advantage of the upper class, these 
conditions of class segregation, in conjunction 
with the artificial complications of much " upper- 
class " science, resulted in transforming all the 
sciences from means for the organisation of labour 
into means for perpetuating class rule. Even 
philosophy, most abstract of the sciences, has been 
subject to the same law of development. 

But if the old science is an instrument of upper- 
class dominion, the proletariat must counteract 
this influence with its own science, as a means for 
the revolutionary struggle. It must do this, says 
Bogdanoff, not merely after the social revolution, 
but before the revolution, and in order to effect the 
overthrow of the old order. It cannot simply 
adopt bourgeois science, which often exercises a 
corrupting and stultifying influence, and which in 
any case darkens counsel by its needless com- 
plexity. The proletariat requires a proletarian 
science. " I mean, a science formulated, under- 
stood, and expounded from the working-class out- 
look ; a science competent to enable the working 
class to realise its own aims; a science which 
organises forces for the victory of communion." 



96 PROLETCULT 



But is there really such a thing as " proletarian 
science "? Is not culture universal? Far from it, 
answers Bogdanoff. In a class society, science is 
determined by the class outlook. A typical in- 
stance is economics. There are two sciences of 
economics. Orthodox and professorial economics 
is the economics of the master class. This was 
preeminently " economic science " ; until Marx 
came along and wrote a new economics, proletarian 
economics, the science as envisaged from the 
standpoint of the producers instead of from that 
of the exploiters. And behold, from the new out- 
look of proletarian science, much that had been 
obscure was made plain to the understanding of 
the common man and woman. The change was as 
fundamental as that which had been worked in 
astronomy three and a half centuries before by 
Copernicus. Earlier astronomers, studying the 
movements of the planets from the outlook of the 
Earth, and desiring to explain the erratic character 
of the observed motions, had been compelled to 
invent systems of extraordinary complexity " cycle 
on epicycle, orb in orb." Copernicus, transferring 
himself in imagination from the Earth as centre 
of the moving system to the Sun as centre, sub- 
stituting the heliocentric theory for the geocentric 
theory, effected an amazing simplification. No less 
vital was the change, no less astounding was the 
simplification, effected by Marx in substituting the 
economic outlook of the producer for that of the 
exploiter, the economic outlook of the proletarian 
for that of the capitalist. The change applied 
even to the self-evident. For what can seem more 
self-evident to the capitalist than that he supports 



PROLETCULT IN RUSSIA 97 

the worker? And what can seem more self-evident 
to the class-conscious worker, instructed in the 
elements of Marxist economics, than that he sup- 
ports the capitalist? Now Marx, having recog- 
nised that the economic outlook was fundamentally 
different according to the social class from which 
the phenomena were viewed, went further, and 
made a great generalisation. The fundamental 
difference did not concern economics alone. The 
historic mission of the proletariat was to effect a 
transformation in all human outlooks, a trans- 
formation based upon the class consciousness of 
the workers. Where it behoves us to build upon 
the ideological foundation laid by Marx is, that 
we must deliberately further this revolutionary 
transformation of science. Such is the function 
of Proletcult. 

Communism, continues Bogdanoff, is sharply 
opposed to the anarchy which to a large extent 
has hitherto prevailed in bourgeois science and 
philosophy. It must be based upon the methodical 
organisation of the communist world-society. 
" Communism cannot be realised in any single 
country. ... It must embrace, if not the 
whole world, at least a number of federated coun- 
tries able to form a self-dependent whole and able 
to present a united front against the rest of the 
world. . . . This new society must be cul- 
turally adequate to its tasks, and must possess a 
unified ideology. If its individual parts differ one 
from another in ideals and wishes as extensively 
as a workman, a middle-class intellectual, and a 
peasant differ from one another to-day, they will 
be as little able to unite for purposive communal 

7 / 



98 PROLETOULT 



organisation, as workmen speaking different 
tongues can cooperate in the building of a house. 
. . . The proletariat is the heir of all classes 
in history; it is the direct source of organising 
work; it is the inheritor of the accumulated ex- 
perience of the ages. The historic mission of the 
proletariat is to coordinate this heritage in the 
form of an all-embracing science. Upon the 
foundation of this all-embracing proletarian cul- 
ture, and upon this alone, will the workers be able 
to realise their ideals. " 

PROLETARIAN ETHICS 

Even in this outline sketch it would be pusill- 
animous to shirk two of the most perplexing and 
contentious fields of proletarian culture. We refer 
to proletarian ethics and proletarian art. Each 
requires a textbook to itself, and yet each must 
here be dismissed in two or three paragraphs. We 
cannot pretend to decide which is the more thorny 
of the two, for both bristle with difficulties. At 
random, therefore, we take the first plunge into 
the thicket of proletarian ethics. 

To Marxist students it is a commonplace that 
one of the primary essentials of Independent 
Working-Class Education is that " bourgeois 
morality" must be confronted by " proletarian 
morality." Does this mean that all the morality, 
all the ethic, all the customs (substantially, to a 
realist, the three words mean the same thing in 
practice no less than derivatively), of what is 
termed " civilized life" must go by the board? 
By no means. Much of what is known as civilised 
morality, much of the ethic or custom which has 



PROLETCULT IN RUSSIA 99 

been associated with the growth of capitalist 
civilisation, is truly universal. It is part of the 
vesture of good habit, which distinguishes the 
civilised bourgeois or proletarian from the savage, 
and will distinguish the civilised communist of the 
future from the man of the stone age though it will 
assimilate him to the bourgeois of the opening 
twentieth century. The " common form " of 
civilised life has been a slow acquirement ; it often 
vanishes like smoke under the touch of decivilising 
stresses, whether of war or of what passes by the 
name of " social peace"; it requires much exten- 
sion and consolidation with the aid of improved 
educational methods and in the light of the new 
psychology. But these habits which make us re- 
frain from clubbing a stranger who accidentally 
treads on our toes or from running a man through 
with a rapier because we dislike the cut of his 
beard, which enable us to check any impulse to 
spit on the floor even when we know we are free 
from tubercular disease, which make us respect 
the sacred distinction between toine and thine as 
regards small articles of personal possession — are 
not what we mean by bourgeois morality. One of 
the most distinctive canons of bourgeois morality, 
and the one which is most emphatically challenged 
by proletarian morality, is the sanctity of all that 
the bourgeois preeminently terms " property." 
The bourgeois lumps under that name exploiting 
and non-exploiting property. The land that he 
" owns " and the shares which bring him dividends, 
are just as sacrosanct in his eyes as the shirt that 
he wears or the loose change in his pocket. For 
him the proverb, " near is my shirt, but nearer is 



100 PROLETCUJ/r 



my skin " has become " near is my shirt, but 
nearer is my title to exploit my fellow mortal." 
To proletarian morality, titles to exploitation, the 
way-leaves of the duke of Northumberland, the 
ground-rents of my lord of Bedford, the railway 
shares of John Smith, Esquire, and the Tsarist 
Russian loan-bonds in the hands of western in- 
vestors, are worth the paper they are written on, 
no more and no less. At the first chance that of- 
fers, the proletarian will confiscate the lot with 
a robust bolshevik conscience, and will sleep the 
sounder for having done a good deed! 

Again, in matters of the sex relation, there is a 
fundamental difference between the bourgeois out- 
look and that of the class-conscious proletarian. 
This does not mean that the communist wishes to 
" communalise women " ; for of all the foolish 
fictions that ever found credence among interested 
persons, assuredly one of the most foolish was that 
a group of revolutionaries whose whole philosophy 
of life involved a war on exploitation in all its 
forms, should inaugurate the new era by the cal- 
lous exploitation of a sex. What it does mean is 
that the proletarian, having recognised that the 
bourgeois form of the sex relationship is largely 
based upon the dominant proprietary system and 
the laws of inheritance, recognises also that under 
communism the sex relationship will inevitably 
tend to assume a new form. Precisely what that 
form, or what those forms, will be, it is impossible 
to forecast. The conditions of the problem are 
still too elusive. But whatever they are, they will 
differ considerably from the bourgeois forms of 
more or less indissoluble marriage, with a duplex 



PROLETCULT IN RUSSIA 101 

code of sexual morality, and the brutal mutual 
exploitation of the sexes known as prostitution. 
Proletarian morality will not solve all the problems 
of the sexual life ; but a communist order of society 
will have in this respect fewer difficulties to con- 
tend with than capitalism has known. 

Russian experience already furnishes warrant 
for the belief that as regards ethical practice in 
general there is ample confirmation for what theory 
had led us to expect. As to theory, Russian 
thinkers are devoting themselves to the considera- 
tion of the new ethic of the proletariat. Two 
Russian pamphlets lie on our table as we write. 
One, by "N.N;" is entitled Proletarian Ethics, 
Proletarian Conduct from the Outlook of Realist 
Philosophy. The other, by Alexandra Kollontai, 
discusses The New Morality and the Working 
Class. They can be mentioned only in passing. 
Recent studies though they are, published in 
1920, they fail to deal with ethical problems from 
the most modern of all outlooks — that of the New 
Psychology, The work of Freud and the two 
leading schools of post-Freudians; the work of 
McDougall and Trotter; the work of Coue and 
Baudouin upon autosuggestion ; — these have made 
all the old controversies between the absolutists 
and the relativists in morality, between the in- 
tuitionists and the utilitarians, between the al- 
truists and the egoists, seem out of date. The new 
psychologists and the new educationists are not 
proletarians, but neither are they distinctively 
bourgeois. Their science has been tendentious, in 
that it has been pursued for the human interest; 
but it no more belongs to a social class than 



102 PROLETCULT 



Darwin's contribution to the theory of evolution 
belongs to a social class. Actually, the New 
Psychology and the New Pedagogy come as eman- 
cipators of the human spirit from the shackles of 
the past ; and it is for the proletariat, as the heir 
of the ages, to turn these emancipating influences 
to account for the furtherance of proletarian cul- 
ture. In child education, our Russian comrades 
are already much in advance of the contemporary 
bourgeois world ; but it is in Britain that are 
manifest the first signs of awareness that the New 
Psychology is of fundamental importance to the 
revolutionary movement. One of the aims of this 
little volume is to help in various ways towards 
the international unification of Proletcult. 

PROLETARIAN ART 

Scant space has been left for the topic of pro- 
letarian art. Can there be such a thing as pro- 
letarian art? Is such an art possible? Or is Art, 
with a capital A, "universal"? The Proletcult 
institution was founded in Russia quite as much 
in the hope of fostering a distinctively proletarian 
art, as in the expectation of fostering a dis- 
tinctively proletarian science. Bogdanoff has 
written a pamphlet What is Proletarian Poetry? 
and naturally plumps in favour of its possibilities. 
John Oournos, in four issues of " The New 
Europe " (a weekly which would be better en- 
titled " The Bad Old Europe, and How can we 
save it from Extinction? ")> October 30 to Novem- 
ber 20, 1919, empties the vials of his scorn upon 
proletarian culture in theory and practice, upon 
bolshevik poetry and the bolshevik theatre. But, 



PBOLETOULT IN RUSSIA 103 

since Cournos is himself an artist, there breathes 
through his admirable translations a spirit which 
the conscious anti-bolshevik is himself unable to 
understand, and which may encourage those whose 
proletarian outlook has led them to expect a new 
surge of artistic impulse in Soviet Russia. In 
"Volksbuhne" (The People's Theatre), No. 3 of 
the first volume, 1920/1, Richard Seidel writes 
more guardedly in criticism of the very possibility 
of proletarian art. 

This writer, like the other critics, misses the 
main point. It is true that in bourgeois civilisa- 
tion art has been the creation, for the most part, 
of leisured hangers-on of the wealthier bourgeoisie. 
But art originated simply as a means of self- 
expression in the craftsman. Such was the art of 
the prehistoric age, as we may learn from the 
scant remnants that have escaped time's destroy- 
ing hand. Such was the art of Japan in the feudal 
era. Such was the art of the cathedral builders 
of western Europe during an epoch of town life 
in which, though civilisation was a class civilisa- 
tion, there had not yet arisen the profound cleavage 
between " ownership " and u work," between 
" leisure" and "toil," characteristic of highly 
developed capitalism. The work of the artist 
craftsman of the middle ages was not the product 
of leisure plus imagination, but of labour plus 
imagination. Can we not foresee, in communist 
society (together with a considerable generalisa- 
tion of leisure as a universal privilege instead of 
a class privilege), a revival of that conjuncture of 
labour and imagination which we conceive to be 
the true social basis of art? And when there is 



104 PKOLETCULT 



superadded the quickening and enfranchisement of 
the spirit that will derive from the disappearance 
of the numerous inward conflicts which underlie 
the surface of capitalist society, may we not an- 
ticipate such a blossoming of art as the world has 
never known? An art which will be proletarian in 
its origins, and which, like other forms of pro- 
letarian culture, will not improbably retain the 
name of u proletarian " even after it has become 
a universal means of delight, and a universal mode 
of self-expression? '" The art of the future," wrote 
Tolstoy many years ago, " will not be a develop- 
ment of the art of the present : it will be founded 
upon other bases. It will no longer be the pro- 
perty of a caste." 

Some such conception as this underlies the ex- 
pectations of those who look eastward for the signs 
of the new advent. Here, in the west, where the 
possibilities df proletarian art still lie shrouded 
in the womb of the future, where in the present 
we have to limit our activities to the fashioning 
of a narrow but efficient fighting culture, we must 
possess our souls in patience, glad to find our 
means of self-expression in the only war that 
matters. 



PROLETCULT AT WORK 

What is there to say on this subject that has 
not been said a hundred times, in more detail than 
can possibly be attempted in these pages? He 
that has ears to hear, let him hear. Throughout 
the yearfe of storm and stress, the Soviet Govern- 
ment, at war with capitalist Europe on the fluc- 
tuating frontiers, and at war with the counter- 



PROLETCULT IN RUSSIA 105 

revolution within its own borders, has been 
steadfastly engaged upon its great task of pro- 
letarian culture. It is making headway against 
illiteracy. The peasants, though not wholly sym- 
pathetic to the communist regime, eagerly accept 
the educational advantages it offers. As regards 
children, the very difficulties that have beset Rus- 
sia, have favoured the governmental scheme of 
removing as many children as possible from the 
influence of reactionary homes. Of the twenty 
million children in Soviet Russia, two million are 
living under the roof of State institutions. There, 
from the merely animal point of view, they are 
better cared for than they can possibly be cared 
for at home; and parents are content that the 
State should act as what H. G. Wells once declared 
it ought to be — the Over-Parent. 

Did space permit we would quote largely, not 
from bolshevik sources, but from two articles which 
H. N. Brailsford, a recent visitor, published on 
" Education and Art in Russia," in " The Nation " 
for December 24, 1920, and January 15, 1921. 
Brailsford, it must be remembered, saw things for 
himself, and his knowledge of languages made him 
independent of official interpreters. His testimony 
therefore, is of especial value. On December 24th 
he wrote : " The most inspiring thing in Russia 
is that the socialist revolution, instantly and in- 
stinctively, began to realise the ideal of universal 
education, which the interests and prejudices of 
class have thwarted in the rest of Europe." The 
same writer touches on education in an article on 
" The Russian Communist Party " which appeared 
in the "Contemporary Review" for January, 



106 PROLETOULT 



1921. He writes concerning the Sverdloff Uni- 
versity at Moscow, the college in which the new 
ruling class is training its civil service: " Here 
about a thousand young men and women, drawn 
from the working class, receive a rapid course of 
instruction in political science from the communist 
standpoint. They study for six months, taking 
courses in political economy, the history of civilisa- 
tion, Russian history, statistics, and the history 
and doctrines of Marxist socialism. Thereafter 
they specialise in some department of administra- 
tion (agriculture, food, education, etc.), and the 
lectures are followed by practical work in the 
ministry which especially interests them." 

Referring to the Communist Party, he tells us : 
" The Party now largely recruits itself from the 
youths who are growing up to manhood and woman- 
hood under^ the revolution. The i Young Com- 
munist ' organisation, conducted entirely by the 
youths themselves, is, with its 400,000 members, 
nearly as numerous as the Party. . . . They 
aim at permeating the schools, and have very 
definite ideals of education. When I asked for a 
definition of their aim, one of these youths gave 
it promptly : ' We aim at creating a new psy- 
chology of social duty : we want those who enjoy 
free higher education to learn to devote themselves 
to society, to repay what the State has given them 
in the school, and not to be content with a few 
hours of regulated perfunctory work.' ... I 
asked them how far they were reaching the parents 
of children hostile to socialism. They answered 
that in several cases they had enlisted the children 
of priests and of ' kulaks ' [village usurers] . . . 



PROLETCULT IN RUSSIA 107 

and they mentioned lads by name whose fathers 
had in vain tried to thrash the communism out of 
them." 

Some of the recorded activities of these Young 
Communists have a u Boy-Scouty " flavour, re- 
minding the reader of Baden Powell's lads on the 
prowl for an unwary person to whom they can do 
their daily " good turn." And yet how different 
is the whole mental outlook from that of our young 
apostles of social solidarity under capitalism ! To 
mark the contrast, it will suffice in conclusion to 
quote once more from Brailsford's article : "Capit- 
alist society makes the mind of the people by its 
unorganised quasi-monopoly of the printing press. 
The communists, by their organised monopoly, are 
steadily and rapidly making the minds of the re- 
ceptive Russian nation." 



CHAPTER NINE 
YEAST IN THE BRITISH ISLES 

England may seem to you untouched, but 
the microbe is already there.— Nicolai 
Lenin. (In conversation with Arthur Ran- 
some, 1918.) 

PROLETCULT CLASSES 

The most widespread manifestation of the Prolet- 
cultural ferment — the Ferment of Revolution, as 
the "Times" called it in a series of articles 
published in the autumn of 1917 — is the spon- 
taneous growth of classes in economics, industrial 
history, economic geography, and other subjects 
having a direct bearing on the Marxist explanation 
of capitalist "society." To-day they flourish 
abundantly in the industrial districts of Lan- 
cashire, Yorkshire, Northumberland and Durham, 
Birmingham and other Midland centres, Notting- 
hamshire, etc. In South Wales there are classes 
in more than fifty districts, for the most part under 
the auspices of the South Wales Miners' Federa- 
tion. But in the Rhondda and a few other valleys 
there are full-time lecturers employed by the 
district organisations of the miners. Classes are 
met with even in rural areas, and notably in 
Somerset and Norfolk. The backbone of Prolet- 
cult in Britain, they are not as yet fully co- 

108 



YEAST IN THE BRITISH ISLES 109 

ordinated by Proletcult Councils, or properly 
linked up with the Labour Colleges. Such co- 
ordination of effort is the task of the immediate 
future. 

A subordinate manifestation, hardly less sig- 
nificant, is the fact that not a few branches of 
the Communist Party are now resolving themselves 
into Study Circles. Meetings for study alternate 
with the ordinary business meetings of the branch. 
Recent contributions to communist literature — 
such a book, for instance, as Lenin's The State 
and Revolution, or such a document as the Mani- 
festo issued in 1919 by the newly formed Third 
International — are read in council, annotated, 
criticised, and discussed. The aim, of course, is 
to transform communism from a vague aspiration 
into a working policy. 

THE NEW LABOUR COLLEGES 

Since the war, a number of additional Labour 
Colleges have been founded in the British Isles. 
One of these, in Dublin, was established in memory 
of Jim Connolly ; but under present conditions in 
Ireland, when all the revolutionary energy of the 
country is concentrated upon the nationalist 
struggle with the British government, it is im- 
possible that much attention should be paid to 
Proletcult. The Scottish Labour College, projected 
in 1916 and formed in Glasgow some two years 
later, is non-residential. It was a natural out- 
growth of the educational classes in Marxist 
socialism which have been carried on in the Clyde 
region without intermission since the nineties. 
Prior to the winter session of 1920/21, the activities 



110 PROLETCULT 



of the College were practically confined to evening 
and Sunday classes. Glasgow, for instance, had 
30 such classes, with a total roll of 854 students. 
The provincial classes numbered 51, with an at- 
tendance of approximately 2,000 students. Among 
the subjects taught at the central classes were 
economics, industrial history, public speaking, 
commercial geography, modern European history, 
constitutional law, and Esperanto. At most of 
the district classes, study was confined to the first 
two subjects named. 

During the second winter there has been a great 
extension of activity. Many new classes have been 
formed, and the total number of students is much 
larger. Furthermore, day classes are now being 
held, attended by bursars from the Lanarkshire 
Miners' County Union, the Fife, Kinross, and 
Clackmannan Miners' Association, and the Tool- 
makers' and Machinists' Union. There are also 
students who are meeting their own maintenance 
expenses and paying their own fees. These central 
classes are conducted by two full-time tutors. 
District Committees to carry on similar work have 
been formed in various parts of Scotland ; and a 
number of the Scottish trade unions and co- 
operative societies are giving financial support. 
To meet the demand for working-class education 
in districts where it has not yet been possible to 
arrange for classes of the ordinary kind, corre- 
spondence courses are being initiated. In a word, 
a great deal is being done by the Scottish Labour 
College to further the object for which it was es- 
tablished — the widest possible diffusion of Inde- 
pendent Working-Class Education. We may hope 



YEAST IN THE BRITISH ISLES 111 

for the speedy fulfilment of the words used by John 
Maclean in the preface to James Clunie's First 
Principles of Working -Class Education: " Very 
soon every village and hamlet in Scotland will 
have its classes working in conjunction with the 
Labour College. " 

There can be no doubt that these local colleges 
are but the prelude to similar bodies which will 
shortly be formed in all the industrial districts of 
Britain. They will work in close cooperation with 
the London Labour College (it is a pity that this 
pioneer institution dropped the " Central " from 
its name!), and coordination can be promoted by 
joint conferences. Thus the various regions will 
be enabled to a considerable extent to supply 
their own need for class teachers. But as long as 
the Labour College in London is the only resi- 
dential Labour College in the Isles, it will have a 
peculiar prestige, and will remain in effect the Cen- 
tral Labour College. Besides the Colleges already 
named, there are the Manchester Labour College, 
the Sheffield Labour College, and the North-Eastern 
District of the Labour College (Newcastle- on - 
Tyne). But these are not so much teaching centres 
as bodies for coordinating the work of Proletcult 
classes. Like the Liverpool Council for Inde- 
pendent Working-Class Education, they are Pro- 
letcult Councils. 

PROLETCULT COUNCILS 

Whether they are residential or non-residential, 
the Labour Colleges that are really colleges tend 
to be mainly places for whole-time instruction. 
Some of them, like the Scottish Labour College, 



112 PKOLETCULT 



will undertake to organise evening and Sunday 
classes throughout wide areas. But there is 
definite scope for the Councils for Independent 
Working-Glass Education which are springing up 
throughout the country as parts of the great 
educational revolutionary ferment now in progress. 
These are concerned with mapping out Proletcul- 
tural activities in the areas with which they deal^ 
with coordinating the work, and with assisting in 
the formation and running of classes. 

In the London area, for instance, there was 
formed in the spring of 1920 the London Labour 
Educational Council. To a certain extent this 
was a revival of the pre-war activities of the Lon- 
don District Council of the National Union of 
Railwaymen, the first labour organisation to run 
educational classes in the London area under 
Labour College auspices and in accordance with 
the principles of Independent Working-Glass Edu- 
cation. This was in the winter of 1913-14, but the 
work was interrupted by the outbreak of the war. 
In August, 1920, the London Labour Educational 
Council adopted the more class-conscious and dis- 
tinctive name of the London Council for Independ- 
ent Working-Class Education. This has its head- 
quarters at the Labour College, and works in close 
collaboration with that institution. By the au- 
tumn, the London area had been divided into 23 
districts with local committees and branch secre- 
taries ; and 38 classes for the study of economics 
and industrial history had been inaugurated. 
Additional classes were opened at New Year, 1921, 
and the number of students now attending these 
part-time classes in the London area is about 
fourteen hundred. 



YEAST IN THE BRITISH ISLES 113 

The Central Executive Council of the South 
Wales Miners' Federation recently appointed an 
Educational Sub-Committee to elaborate a scheme 
for the unification of the activities of the South 
Wales classes and to promote the formation of 
classes where these do not as yet exist. 
• It is impossible here to give details as to the 
work of similar councils in other parts of the 
country, but a list of the various councils will be 
found in the appendix. In this matter, as in that 
of the Labour Colleges, a national coordination 
of activities and a national interchange of ex- 
perience are desirable, and it may be hoped that 
a general conference for the purpose will be held 
ere long. One question worth reconsidering at 
such a conference would be the question of name. 
Why not shorten it to Proletcult Council? Thus 
we should have the London Proletcult Council, 
the South Wales Proletcult Council, the Man- 
chester Proletcult Council. In the case of this 
new word there is no prejudice against (i Greek " 
to overcome — and the precedent for its use has 
been set by Soviet Russia. 

THE PLEBS LEAGUE IN 1920-21 - 

During the war, the Plebs League had to exist 
with banked fires. The editor of the " Plebs 
Magazine," J. F. Horrabin, and many of the 
regular contributors, were summoned to less con- 
genial activities in another field ; and the secretary 
of the League, Winifred Horrabin, had to double 
editorial work with the secretaryship. But both 
Magazine and League survived the years of 
struggle, and are now enjoying the quickened 

8 

( 



114 PROLETCIJLT 



revolutionary impetus which has been — apart from 
death and derision — the chief outcome of the 
capitalists' war. In August, 1919, when its title 
was shortened to u The Plebs," the magazine an- 
nounced on its front page that it had " every hope 
of swelling visibly within a short time." It has 
in fact been repeatedly enlarged both in size and 
number of pages. The price has also gone up ; but 
so, happily, has the circulation. Not merely is it 
the chief organ of Proletcult in this country, but 
it is a periodical which can rank with any revolu- 
tionary journal in the world. 

The League's other activities have kept pace with 
the development of the Magazine. In the final 
paragraph of Science and the Working Class, 
Bogdanoff refers to a Workers' University, and 
says that out of the collective life of this institu- 
tion, through the joint elaboration of the best 
teaching systems, there must arise a Workers' 
Encyclopaedia. " Feudal society had its encyclo- 
paedia based upon religion: the bourgeoisie, 
shortly before the French revolution, wrote a 
secular encyclopaedia. The proletariat, the class 
which has to refashion life upon a far more splen- 
did scale, cannot do without an encyclopaedia of 
its own." There can be no Workers' University 
in prerevolutionary Britain, for the Labour Col- 
leges can concern themselves only with the pro- 
vision of a fighting culture. Nor, therefore, can 
there be a Workers' Encyclopaedia in the compre- 
hensive sense in which the term is employed by 
Bogdanoff. But Proletcultural textbooks convey- 
ing the elements of a fighting culture will supply 
the first requisites for such a Workers' Encyclo- 



YEAST IN THE BRITISH ISLES 115 

paedia, and these the Plebs League hopes to pro- 
vide very shortly. Not in economics and industrial 
history alone, but in all the subjects of instruction 
at the Labour Colleges and in the Proletcult 
classes, lecturers and students require textbooks 
which are free from the taint of bourgeois ideology. 
At a Special Conference held in Bradford on April 
17 and 18, 1920, the whole subject was considered, 
and plans were laid for textbooks on biology, the 
science of understanding, economic geography, in- 
dustrial history, and economics. The matter was 
again discussed at a " Textbook " Conference held 
in Cardiff on September 4, 1920. Further study 
of the question has led to the splitting up of some 
of the subjects, notably in the case of the compre- 
hensive topic of the science of understanding. For 
instance, there is now in preparation a textbook 
on the vitally important problem of the New 
Psychology as it affects proletarian outlooks. 

This branch of the League's work is not new. 
Some years ago it published three small hand- 
books which have been often reissued and widely 
used in Proletcultural teaching : W. W. Craik, A 
Short History of the Modern Working -Class Move- 
ment; Mark Starr, A Worker Looks at History; 
and Noah Ablett, Easy Outlines of Economics. 
The projected textbooks are an extension of ac- 
tivity in the same field. A further (Jevelopment 
is the proposed reissue of cheap editions of certain 
works which have been published by capitalist 
firms at prices prohibitive to proletarian book- 
buyers. Some of these will be books which, though 
not authoritative expressions of the League's out- 
look, are nevertheless in line with the general views 



116 PROLETOULT 

of its members. Others will be scientific works 
which, though not written by proletarians or those 
who wholeheartedly accept proletarian ideology, 
are sufficiently in harmony with that ideology to 
form part of the proletarian heritage. Plans 
for some of these reprints were discussed at 
the 1921 Meet (Bradford, February 12 and 13), 
and were heartily approved. Such publishing 
activities, in conjunction with schemes for co- 
ordinating Proletcult throughout the country, con- 
stitute the immediate tasks of the Plebs League. 

THE BURSTON STRIKE SCHOOL 

A remarkable development of Independent 
Working-Class Education — small but imposing — 
is that which began in April, 1914, at Burston, 
near Diss in Norfolk. Like the affair at Ruskin 
College five years earlier, this was a " students' 
strike, V though the students here were not tough 
young men from the mining districts, but tender 
children of school age, the children of agricultural 
labourers. Just as the Ruskin College students 
struck against the dismissal of Dennis Hird, so 
the Burston children struck against the dismissal 
of their teachers, husband and wife. The latter 
was the head of the council school, and T. G. 
Higdon, her husband, was assistant master. The 
real cause of the dismissal was that Higdon, a mem- 
ber of the I.L.P., had been actively and success- 
fully promoting the organisation of agricultural 
labourers throughout the district. He was there- 
fore an " agitator " and a " firebrand," and had 
incurred the displeasure of the tin gods who 
formed the governing body of the school — the 



YEAST IN THE BRITISH ISLES 117 

parson and the farmers. Just as in Dennis Hird's 
case, a charge of " unsatisfactory discipline " was 
trumped up against the Higdons, whose idea of 
discipline was to teach self-discipline, and did not 
include the use of the cane. 

The strike was described by the local worthies 
as " all moonshine/' but it has now lasted seven 
years. Prosecutions for non-attendance and the 
imposition of fines were the immediate consequence 
of the children's " down-tools " policy; and thus, 
if the authorities were to be paralysed, it was 
absolutely necessary that the School Strike should 
develop into a Strike School. The result has been 
the formation at Burston of a permanent centre 
of revolutionary education. This small beginning 
of Proletcult among the children of a rural popu- 
lation is pregnant with possibilities for the future. 
The school has the financial support of many 
trade unions and other working-class associations. 
The whole strike movement has been a wonderful 
example of solidarity, steadfastness, and loyalty, 
on the part of parents and children alike. The 
original petty tyrant who was the centre of the 
anti-Higdon movement, a typical " squarson/' left 
the parish about six months ago. But at Burston, 
incumbents may come and incumbents may go ; the 
Strike School goes on for ever. The common folk 
of Burston and neighbouring villages, sweated 
and underpaid though they are, have managed all 
along to give help in money and produce. Through 
the willing sacrifice of these working men and 
women the initial difficulties of housing and fur- 
nishing were overcome, and the school has for 
some years been carried on under its own roof — 



118 PKOLETCULT 



an example of sturdily independent working-class 
education. Burston still remains a purely local 
affair, but with a little more revolutionary initia- 
tive and with more extended support from the 
organised workers, it might develop into a Modern 
School resembling that at Stelton, New Jersey. 

THE WORKERS'' EDUCATIONAL TRADE UNION COMMITTEE 

This body came into existence last year. Sub- 
stantially it may be regarded as the outcome of a 
movement to secure increased support for educa- 
tional activities from trade unions as yet unat- 
tached either to the Bed Plebs League or to the 
Pale Pink W.E.A. Under the auspices of the 
W.E.T.U.C., a conference was held in London on 
October 16, 1920. In addition to the secretary 
and the assistant secretary (the former, it should 
be noted, is also the secretary of the W.E.A.) and 
five members of the Central Committee, there were 
present nineteen representatives of various trade 
unions. The chair was taken by Arthur Pugh, 
secretary to the Iron and Steel Trades Confedera- 
tion. His address contained some significant 
statements. Here is one : 

" Classes organised and controlled by universi- 
ties and local educational authorities do not pro- 
vide the atmosphere or the freedom that induce 
large numbers of working-class men and women 
to become students. Moreover, there unquestion- 
ably exists in the minds of working men and women 
a strong suspicion of the bias of university and 
local education authority teaching in social and 
industrial subjects. The suspicion is undoubtedly 
well founded. This does not imply that either 



YEAST IN THE BRITISH ISLES 119 

universities or local education authorities con- 
sciously impose opinions on their students. What 
can, however, happen is that they may tend to 
teach a line of thought which assumes the existing 
system to be permanent and just." 

The W.E.T.U.O. originated out of a demand 
from branches of the Iron and Steel Trades Con- 
federation that ways and means should be pro- 
vided for the education of its members. At first 
the executive had seriously considered " a policy 
of separate action/' i.e., the inauguration of a 
system of Independent Working-Class Education. 
But " economical and other practical considera- 
tions" made the executive decide to enlist the 
services of the W.E.A., and as a result the 
W.E.T.U.C. was inaugurated. The net result, 
viewed from the Bed end of the spectrum, is of 
course that while the hands are the hands of the 
trade unions concerned, the voice is the voice of 
the W.E.A. ! Increased trade-union support has 
been provided for the distillers of the " W.E.A. 
spirit." 

Nevertheless the leaven of Proletcult operates 
even within the W.E.A., and its new offshoot the 
W.E.T.U.C. Arthur Pugh's mentality is by no 
means that of Mansbridge, Tawney, Greenwood, 
and the other W.E.A. stalwarts. Throughout 
his address he obviously had his eye on the dis- 
gruntled Proletculturists within his own union, who 
would have preferred " separate action," or frank 
support of the Labour College. " To ask trade 
unions to avail themselves of the ordinary educa- 
tional facilities provided by universities and educa- 
tion authorities is . . . impracticable. It is 



120 PROLETCULT 



unnecessary to enter into the reason why. It is 
sufficient to say that every responsible trade- union 
official knows that his members refuse to avail 
themselves of them. They desire to build up their 
own educational movement, to work out their own 
salvation in the world of thought as they are en- 
deavouring to do in the world of action. " It m 
obvious that the stimulating example of the Plebs 
League and the Labour Colleges, in conjunction 
with the pressure of economic conditions and the 
demands of the students, has been responsible for 
this new outbreak of W.E.A. activity. The true 
significance of Pugh's address is that to get ad- 
ditional trade-union support the W.E.A. had to 
drop its name and sail under false colours. In 
reality, W.E.T.U.C. means W.E.A., just as much 
as Council for Independent Working-Class Edu- 
cation means Plebs! 

Two more quotations, and we have done with the 
W.E.T.U.C. The secretary (Mactavish) declared : 
" The great problem is to get people to come to 
classes. In Wales there are a large number of 
students who will not touch a class organised by 
the universities, but if they have control of them 
themselves, through their trade union, they will 
come in large numbers. " G. D. H. Cole (prominent 
W.E.A.-er and committeeman of the W.E.T.U.C.) 
said : " A resolution proposing that Euskin and 
the Central Labour College shall come under the 
protection of the labour movement will come up 
at the Trade-Union Congress. The larger question 
of educational facilities should come up also at 
the Trade-Union Congress. The job of the Labour 
Colleges is a comparatively restricted one. The 



YEAST IN THE BRITISH ISLES 121 

job of classes for men carrying on their everyday 
work is a very much wider and more important 
thing.' ' 

From the viewpoint of the writers of this book 
the supremely important thing is that working- 
class education should remain independent, that 
it should not be Bourgeoiscult but Proletcult. It 
would seem that the students are going to attend 
to that matter themselves! 

MORE TROUBLE BREWING AT RUSKIN COLLEGE 

A significant indication of this is to be found in 
the fact that mutterings of a new storm may be 
heard from Buskin College. A note in the 
"Plebs" of December, 1920, is worth quoting: 
" A section of the Buskin College students has 
been — and still is — dissatisfied with the educational 
policy of that institution. At the beginning of 
this term a Marxian group was formed, and at a 
recent college debate members of this group cham- 
pioned the declaration : ' the emancipation of the 
working class can only be secured by a policy of 
independent working-class education. > A lively 
debate ensued, the final vote being : for, 20 ; 
against, 23. After the debate was formally closed, 
discussions continued in various parts of the hall, 
and, according to our report, the college porter 
had to intervene and separate more than one pair 
of disputants." This story squares with private 
information that there is a good deal of restiveness 
among the students on account of the unduly 
" impartial " character of the teaching. In fact, 
some of the unions maintaining students at the 
College, the Northumbrian miners, for one, have 



122 PROLETOULT 



(we are informed) made representations. Also, 
lectures on " orthodox'' economics have been 
poorly attended. Result : the appointment of 
a Marxist lecturer, quite free from university 
connexions, and a man well-known for a good 
many years as a prominent member of a class- war 
organisation. But— it is a big "but" — the lec- 
turer, whose theoretical competence no one will 
question, is a comparatively safe man from the 
standpoint of the College authorities. A year ago, 
he broke away from the left-wing organisations 
over the question of revolutionary policy; he is 
now a member of the I.L.P. ; he is a candidate fdr 
parliamentary honours under Labour Party aus- 
pices. Still, that a Marxist even of the Plehanoff 
and Kautsky complexion should lecture on 
economics at Ruskin College is a sign of the 
times, a proof that the Proletcultural leaven is 
everywhere at work. Maybe ere long the new 
wine will again burst the old bottle at Ruskin! 



CHAPTER TEN 
THE NEW PSYCHOLOGY 

At the present time the proletariat is 
certainly the most intensely class conscious 
of all the social classes; and this, apart 
from its preponderating numbers, means 
that it is much the most powerful and im- 
portant of all existing partial herds — 
potentially at least, for it has, of course, 
by no means reached the zenith of its politi- 
cal power. — A. G. Tansley. (The New 
Psychology and its Relation to Life, p. 
213.) 

'METHODS OF TEACHING 

At the Plebs Meet held in Bradford on February 
12 and 13, 1921, a discussion took place on the 
improvement of method in class teaching. It was 
extraordinarily interesting to find that, in the 
actual practice of adult proletarian education, men 
who had paid little attention to educational theory 
were working out methods substantially identical 
with those advocated and applied by the most 
advanced bourgeois exponents of pedagogic science. 
The nature of the educational classes for adults 
dictates this development. You cannot drive class- 
conscious young proletarians in a direction in 
which they do not wish to go. The studies must 
be linked on to their interests, must harmonise 
with their affects and their emotionally tinged 

123 



124 PROLETCULT 



desires. But this is the principle of libertarian 
education, as contrasted with the old idea of cram- 
ming with knowledge, and of " helping the lasy 
ones on with the stick." This is the method of 
the Montessori School, of Ferrer's Modern School, 
of the New School, applied to proletarian culture 
for adults. Again, the educational classes run 
under the auspices of Labour Colleges and Prolet- 
cult Councils tend to an increasing extent to de- 
part from the old idea of set courses of lectures 
conducted by throned or pulpited " experts," 
during and after whose oracular utterances no dog 
may bark ! They are discussion classes. In many 
cases they are actually conducted by the pupils, 
with the friendly and suggestive cooperation of 
the " teacher." It becomes a case of " do your 
own teaching " no less than of " do your own 
thinking." Now " do your own teaching " is pre- 
eminently the method of libertarian child educa- 
tion ! It is the finest fruit of bourgeois pedagogy 
spontaneously worked out in proletarian edu- 
cational practice. One of the most talented 
exponents of the newer educational theories, 
Adolphe Ferriere of the Jean Jacques Rousseau 
Institute in Geneva, is fain to admit that his ideal 
Revolutionise the School will only be achieved 
through the social revolution. He does not say 
this in so many words : but he knows that 
capitalist States are more interested in war bud- 
gets than in education, and he writes (p. 148) : 
" Sooner or later, in place of the Society of Na- 
tions the world must establish the Federation of 
Peoples. Then there will no longer be a war budget, 
but only one monster budget — that of education." 



THE NEW PSYCHOLOGY 125 

THE PROLETARIAN HERITAGE 

Ferriere employs bourgeois terminology, but he 
ig probably aware that his educational ideals will 
not materialise until the proletariat enters into 
its heritage; and he probably knows that there is 
only one country in the world where his methods 
are being applied on a large scale — namely, Soviet 
Russia. In this matter, Russia consciously bor- 
rows from advanced bourgeois educationists. 
When we contend that the primary need for the 
working class to-day is to promote a distinctively 
proletarian culture, it is by no means our inten- 
tion to put forward the extravagant claim that all 
advances in thought are now the work of persons 
who are proletarian by origin or status, or even 
of persons who accept the proletarian philosophy 
of life. Creative artists in thought, like creative 
artists in other fields, are driven by inner urges 
which are for the most part " above the battle " 
and are unaffected even by the environment of the 
class war. It is the application of the new thought 
which is subject to the interests of class. When 
a new thought is, or seems, obviously antagonistic 
to the interests of a dominant class, it is fiercely 
resisted by the members of that class — as the 
theories of Galileo and Bruno were resisted by the 
Cathdlic Church. The ideas of an innovator like 
Darwin may be seized upon by the upholders of 
privilege, and distorted till they acquire a com- 
plexion which makes them lend specious support to 
the inequalities of the capitalist system. Similarly 
with the revolutionary psychological conceptions 
of Freud and his successors. They can be used 
to "rationalise" the impulses of each of the two 



126 PROLETCULT 



partial herds into which contemporary society is 
divided. In this matter it behoves the revolu- 
tionary proletariat to be quick to enter into the 
heritage; to simplify and turn to account the 
doctrines of bourgeois and semi-bourgeois thinkers. 
We live in an era which is revolutionising outlooks 
more fundamentally than they were revolutionised 
even by Copernican astronomy, Newtonian physics, 
Darwinian biology, or Marxist economics. The 
New Psychology provides the philosophical justi- 
fication of bolshevism, and supplies a theoretical 
guide for our efforts in the field of proletarian 
culture. 

WHAT IS THE NEW PSYCHOLOGY? 

The essence of the New Psychology is comprised 
in a recognition that the older science tended to 
exaggerate man's rationality. Far from being a 
rational being, one whose actions are wholly or 
mainly guided by reasoned considerations or by 
an intellectualist calculus of pleasures and pains, 
man is a creature whose activities are funda- 
mentally determined by the nature of the com- 
plexes of which his mind is made up. Disregarding 
the philosophical problem of the relationship be- 
tween mind and body, we may say that the mind 
is to be conceived as a network of mental elements 
associated into systems to which the name " com- 
plex " has been given. Every such complex centres 
round an affect or emotion, and the stimulation of 
any one of these linked and emotionally-tinged 
associated ideas tends to call the other partners 
into consciousness through the medium of their 
common affect. As soon as any complex is aroused 
to consciousness, or sometimes while it exists 



THE NEW PSYCHOLOGY 127 

merely in the farm of a subconscious urge, the 
psychic energy attached to it discharges along the 
appropriate channels of endeavour. The three 
universal complexes, the great subconscious urges 
by which the enormous majority of our actions 
are really determined, are the ego complex, the 
herd complex, and the sex complex. To the " ex- 
tremists" of the Freudian school, the sex complex 
appears to be the most vital of all the complexes. 
Perhaps it is ; but it is not the one most vital to 
the present inquiry. For the immediate purposes 
of proletarian culture we are far more closely con- 
cerned with the two other fundamental complexes. 

THE EGO COMPLEX AND THE HERD COMPLEX 

Man is a social animal, but the fact has been 
obscured by the tendencies of capitalistic develop- 
ment during the last few centuries. The prompt- 
ings of the herd instinct are so powerful that they 
often overrule the promptings of the egoistic in- 
stinct. Education acts largely in virtue of its 
power to turn these instincts, these complexes, 
these affects, to account. In medieval systems, the 
trend of education was to make special use of the 
herd complex — sometimes on behalf of such a 
partial herd as the feudal clan, sometimes on be- 
half of a much wider social integration like the 
Catholic Church. At this time the national herd 
was of quite minor importance, for the nationalist 
sentiment in its modern form is a late product of 
capitalist development. But always, down to our 
own day, the herd complex has been operative only 
within the limits of some partial herd. The uni- 
versal herd has never been the object of anything 



128 PROLETCULT 



more than vague humanistic aspiration. Nay, it 
can be nothing more within the framework of the 
class State. 

The herd complex was the basis of primitive 
communism. The herd complex has been the basis 
of the impulse towards communism which has 
asserted itself again and again throughout history. 
It is false psychology to declare that man is " fun- 
damentally individual istic," " essentially egois- 
tic.'' Whether by primary instinct or as the out- 
come of social suggestion matters not, the herd 
complex, is just as fundamental as the ego com- 
plex, and is far more decisive over the actions of 
the normal human b^ing as soon as the first few 
months of infancy have been outgrown. Yet for 
centuries the aim of bourgeois culture, of capital- 
istic culture (essentially individualist), was to em- 
phasise the ego complex at the expense of the herd 
complex — at least in the economic field. The herd 
complex was reserved for window-dressing and 
Sunday best. The " real man " of the bourgeois 
creed was the man whose nature was red in tooth 
and claw, the man whose gospel was every one for 
himself and the devil take the hindmost. 

But capitalistic developments have gradually 
intensified the forms of partial herd segregation 
with which social evolution is now at work. We 
have the two confronted partial herds of the bour- 
geoisie and the proletariat. As against the pro- 
letariat, the bourgeoisie is integrated and fully 
class conscious. But within the bourgeois partial 
herd the integration is imperfect. In virtue of 
linguistic and geographical considerations far more 
than in virtue of racial or truly national considera- 



THE NEW PSYCHOLOGY 129 

tions, the bourgeoisie is split up into numerous 
sub-herds termed nations, which are variously 
allied as real or fancied bourgeois interests sug- 
gest. During the phase of high capitalistic de- 
velopment, the conditions of profit-making pro- 
duction have led to an ever more active cult of 
nationality, whereby the Active herd known as the 
nation is made the basis of a complex sufficiently 
powerful to induce the average man and woman to 
accept the appalling sacrifices demanded by such 
a war as that of 1914-18 — a war for the manu- 
facturing and trading interests of competing 
groups of the master class. Such, in the wording 
of the New Psychology, is the explanation of re- 
cent history as it appears to twentieth century 
Marxists. 

Obviously, then, to a Marxist, the function of 
proletarian culture is to counteract the bourgeois 
culture which uses the herd instinct on behalf of 
the nationalist herd and in support of a capitalist 
exploiting society organised as a national State. 
Proletcult, the culture of the great partial herd 
of the international proletariat, will do every- 
thing that can be done to promote proletarian 
class consciousness, to foster and accentuate the 
proletarian herd complex. So doing, Proletcult 
works in line with the advance of civilisation, with 
the forces which can alone realise a true world- 
civilisation. Through the world revolution, the 
proletariat will become the universal herd, which 
no national herd and no bourgeois herd can ever 
become. In place of the vague humanitarian aims 
of liberalism and pre- Marxian socialism, we have 
a definite method of achieving social solidarity. 

9 



130 PKOLETCULT 



But it can be achieved in one way only; through 
the relentless waging of the class war until the 
bourgeois herds have been disrupted, and until 
their power has been finally broken. That is the 
teaching of Marxist economics reinforced by the 
New Psychology. That is the function of Prolet- 
cult. Even before the revolution, working through 
the partial herd as it must until capitalism has 
been overthrown, Proletcult does its utmost to 
foster communism within the partial herd of the 
proletariat. It works upon an impulse, an un- 
conscious urge, which (it cannot be too often re- 
peated) is primitive and universal. Trade unionism 
and the cooperative movement are imperfect ex- 
pressions of the dormant communistic impulse in 
the proletarian herd. In so far as they are con- 
structed upon the right lines, they act as persistent 
suggestions reinforcing the herd complex of the 
class-conscious proletariat. 

THE CONTROL OP THE SUBCONSCIOUS 

The New Psychology, having revealed to us the 
subconscious personality whose being is in many 
respects more vital to the self than is that of the 
personality of which we are consciously aware, 
has now gone further and has taught us how, in 
large measure, to control its activities. The New 
Psychology has taught us, that is to say, how to 
control the subconscious, both purposively and 
effectively. All that has ever been termed educa- 
tion has been to a far greater extent an education 
of the subconscious than of the conscious self. 
To-day, the idea that education is suggestion will 
be a novelty to many. To-morrow, it will be a 




THE NEW PSYCHOLOGY 131 

commonplace. Yesterday, it was an outrage. In 
the second or third year of the war we went to 
hear a lecture by a practical modern educationist 
who had been a teacher in one of the best-known 
New Schools in Britain. An enquiry, after the 
lecture, whether he did not realise the supreme 
value of the conscious use of suggestion as an 
educational force, was received much as if we had 
commended one of the grosser kinds of sexual 
impropriety ! It was evident that the lecturer was 
himself the subject of an unfortunate complex; 
and that the innocent word " suggestion " had 
aroused various unpleasant emotional associations 
connected with sensational nonsense about " hyp- 
notism/' " mesmerism," and other forms of 
" undue influence." 

The recognition that suggestion is autosugges- 
tion, and that autosuggestion is the means whereby 
imagination controls the subconscious self, will 
dissipate these nightmares, and will enable us to 
make a right use of the most potent force which 
has become available to the members of the human 
herd since the invention of articulate speech. The 
whole subject has been placed upon a secure scien- 
tific footing by Charles Baudouin in his Suggestion 
and Autosuggestion. As recently as 1907, M. W. 
Keatinge (Suggestion in Education) criticised the 
term autosuggestion as misleading. He wrote, 
"the idea is really suggested from without, and 
appears to be l self- suggested ' only to the person 
in whose mind it has been latent," Nevertheless, 
most readers of Baudouin's book will agree that 
in education, no less than in psychotherapeutics, 
what goes on in the subconscious is what really 



132 PKOLETCULT 



counts in the whole process, and that upon the 
successful influencing of the subconscious depends 
the success of the teacher no less than of the healer. 
The value of all the latest educational methods, 
as compared with the cruder methods of earlier 
days, is that they make a more effective though 
still for the most part unwitting appeal to the 
subconscious; that they achieve a skilful though 
not as yet fully understood utilisation of the 
pupils' powers of autosuggestion. 

It is for the Proletculturist to turn these powers 
to deliberate account as part of the proletarian 
heritage. In the proletarian environment, the sub- 
conscious is already aware of the conflict we term 
the class struggle. The suggestions of Marxist 
education in economics and industrial history are 
in conformity with latent trends that pre-exist in 
the pupils' minds. They arouse autosuggestions 
which speedily awaken and reinforce class con- 
sciousness, and direct the associated emotions to- 
wards the channels of revolutionary endeavour. 
Here it is not the will, as the old psychologists 
used to say, which is the motive force of action. 
The force is the force of imagination. Suggestion 
and autosuggestion are ideomotive force ; the force 
whereby, through the intermediation of the sub- 
conscious, thought is realised in action. That is 
the meaning of Marxism as a revolutionary high- 
explosive; for the Marxist ideology arouses the 
latent autosuggestions of the proletarian status. 
Part of the proletarian heritage of to-day must be 
the clear realisation by revolutionary propa- 
gandists of the full significance of the New 
Psychology and the New Pedagogy. 



THE NEW PSYCHOLOGY . 133 

Education is suggestion. What counts in initia- 
ting suggestion is not the will but the imagination. 
" In the beginning was the deed/' says Goethe's 
Faust. We should phrase it differently to-day, 
saying, " In the beginning was imagination.'"' 
The deed follows. The function of the Prolet- 
culturist is to fire the imagination, until imagina- 
tion realises itself in action. 



CHAPTER ELEVEN 
THE EEVEILLE 

The workers are strong. If they endure 
oppression, it is because they are hypno- 
tised. The one thing needful is to awaken 
them from this hypnotic sleep. Leo 
Tolstoy. (Diary, February 3rd, 1898.) 

The aim of Proletcult has been to show that all 
the educational forces of the capitalist State — the 
power of the schools and the universities; the 
power of the cinema, the pulpit, and the press — 
combine to diffuse a Bourgeoiscultural suggestive 
influence tending to befool the workers. This has 
not, until recently, be§n a deliberate policy; but 
it tends increasingly to become so. The policy is 
more deliberate and more ruthless in the United 
States than as yet in Europe. Upton Sinclair, in 
The Brass Check, refers primarily to the news- 
paper press and to American conditions ; but much 
of what he has to say applies to this side of the 
Atlantic, and can be generalised to include all the 
" means of infection " at the disposal of the master 
class. He writes : " You will miss the point of 
this book if you fail to get clear that the provision 
of news and the betrayal of public opinion is no 
haphazard and accidental thing. For twenty-five 
years it has been a thing deliberately planned and 

*4 



THE REVEILLE 135 

systematically carried out, a science and a tech- 
nique. High-priced experts devote their lives to 
it. They sit in council with the masters of in- 
dustry, and report on the condition of the public 
mind, and determine precisely how this shall be 
presented and how that shall be suppressed. They 
create a public psychology, a force in the grip of 
which you, their. victim, are as helpless as a moth 
in the glare of an arc-light. And what is the 
purpose of it all? One thing, and one thing only 
— that the wage slaves of America shall continue 
to believe in and support the system whereby 
their bones are picked bare and thrown upon the 
scrap-heap of the profit-system." 

Now in the fight against this system and in the 
counteraction of the methods that are used for its 
support, Independent Working-Class Education 
or revolutionary Proletcult is in many respects 
the most vital of all means. Let us quote once 
again the recent utterance of Henry de Man, 
director of the Belgian Board of Labour educa- 
tion ("The Survey," September 1, 1920) : u When 
Labour strikes, it says to its master : I shall no 
longer work at your command. When it votes for 
a party of its own, it says : I shall no longer vote 
at your command. When it creates its own classes 
and colleges, it says : I shall no longer think at 
your command. Labour's challenge to education 
is the most fundamental of the three." 

Substantially, de Man's statement is to the ef- 
fect that there are three main lines of advance : 
the political action of the Communist Party; the 
direct action of organised labour ; and Independent 
Working-Class Education. We need not dispute 



136 PROLETCULT 



as to Avhich is the most important, since all are 
indispensable. The essential thing is that there 
should be collaboration along all three lines. The 
mass action of organised labour must be guided 
by revolutionary intelligence, if it is not to remain 
futile. Revolutionary intelligence must receive 
the material support of organised labour. The 
political party forms a centralising and coordinat- 
ing force for activities in all three fields. But it 
must be noted that as the revolutionary crisis ap- 
proaches, the educational method has considerable 
advantages over the political. Revolutionary 
political activities will sooner be driven under- 
ground by the forces of repression. This hardly 
applies to the industrial line of advance. Of course, 
thanks largely to Proletcult, the industrial or- 
ganisation of the workers is increasingly guided by 
a subversive aim; but in western " democracies" 
it becomes more and more difficult for govern- 
ments to take high-handed measures against in- 
dustrial organisations. Revolutionary political 
parties, on the other hand, will ever more fre- 
quently be subjected to the pressure of exceptional 
laws against " sedition," of exceptional measures 
for the "defence of the realm." Educational ac- 
tivities financed by the industrial unions occupy 
an intermediate position. It is unlikely that they 
will be interfered with until capitalism is in its 
death agony. The efforts of the defenders of the 
capitalist fortress will be confined to occasional 
clamours for the prosecution or suppression of 
Marxist educational classes and the agencies which 
promote them ; and to counter-propaganda like 
that of the Federation of British Industries, which 



THE REVEILLE 137 

is busily engaged upon plans for organising "safe" 
economic classes for the workers — places where 
potential revolutionists can be satisfactorily pithed. 
Meanwhile we have to insist that in the educa- 
tional field, no less than in the political and in- 
dustrial fields, Mr. Facing-Both-Ways is more 
dangerous than a declared enemy. In the preface 
to his latest work, Terrorism and Communism, 
Trotsky points out that what he terms " inter- 
national Kautskyism " — represented in Britain by 
the Independent Labour Party and the Parlia- 
mentary Labour Party — is the chief political factor 
whereby capitalist society is sustained in its pres- 
ent position of unstable equilibrium. Hence the 
need for the Third International, to clear the 
political issues. Similarly in the industrial field, 
the Yellow Trade -Union International is one of the 
mainstays of reaction, and it was essential to 
create the Red Trade-Union International with its 
cry of " Show your Colours! " No less essential, 
we contend, is it that there should be a Red Pro- 
letcult International, to coordinate the work of 
revolutionary education, and to make the workers 
everywhere understand that the social solidarians 
who prate of the union of labour and learning, 
who offer Bourgeoiscult in place of Proletcult, are 
but wolves in sheep's clothing, are but disguised 
emissaries of the master class. Important as it is 
to clear the issues in the political and industrial 
fields, it is in certain respects even more important 
to clear the issues in the educational field. u We 
may say," writes Trotsky in the before-mentioned 
preface, " that the will of the working masses 
throughout the civilised world, continually stressed 



138 ■ PKOLETCULT 



by the course of events, is far more revolutionary 
than their judgment; for their judgment is still 
obscured by parliamentarist prejudices and theories 
of class collaboration. The struggle for the dic- 
tatorship of the working class makes it necessary 
at this moment that we should wage a pitiless war 
against Kautskyism within the working class. " 
There is a " Kautskyism " in education no less 
than in trade unionism and in politics. Against 
Kautskyism in education the Proletculturist must 
wage a pitiless war. 

The industrial workers cannot have their minds 
clarified by an education which is not itself freed 
from all taint of bourgeois ideology. The indus- 
trial movement in Britain is still in large measure 
chaotic; for the slough of the old unionism has 
never been completely cast, and the confusionism 
resulting from the idea that parliamentarism is 
the only form of political action tends to paralyse 
effort. Among the rank and file of the unions, 
mainly as the outcome of tendentious education, 
there is a revolt, not merely against craft unionism 
and the parliamentary aims and methods of the 
" Kautskyite" labour leaders, but against the 
whole conception that the primary object of trade 
unionism is to secure higher wages and shorter 
hours. They are returning to the trade-union aims 
of Chartist days, when there was a design to 
revolutionise society and thereby to open the way 
to freedom. To encourage this revolutionary 
mentality is the primary aim of prerevolutionary 
Proletcult. 

Thus in countries that are preparing for the 
revolution, Proletcult has both to diffuse and to 



THE REVEILLE 139 

concentrate the revolutionary impetus, and to or- 
ganise and clarify the intelligence of the class- 
conscious minority that will institute the dictator- 
ship of the proletariat when capitalism collapses. 
The dictatorship of those who, like the bolsheviks 
in Red Russia, will ride in the whirlwind and 
direct the storm. Incidentally, of course, Prolet- 
cult has an important function in helping to coun- 
teract all attempts to restabilise the tottering 
fabric of capitalism. The modern Marxist, one 
who belongs to the left wing and repudiates the 
Kautskyite interpretation, does not propose to 
stand idly awaiting the disintegration of the 
capitalist system. He conceives of revolution as 
something towards whose coming the creative will 
and intelligence of the revolutionary workers must 
actively contribute. If it be true, as Kant declared, 
that as progress becomes more rapid its phases 
grow shorter, this is mainly because progress — 
social progress — is increasingly lifted to a plane 
above the blind play of material forces, and is 
guided by the mind of man. In the present 
phase of social development the intelligence that 
can guide social progress can be found only in the 
ranks of the proletariat. 

In Russia, where the first stages of the revolu- 
tion have already been achieved, Proletcult is a 
new system of education, State education, or- 
ganised by the ergatocratic State, to cultivate the 
average mentality requisite for the successful 
working of the stable yet progressive communist 
commonwealth — just as the aim of State education 
under capitalism is to produce the kind of human 
material needed by the capitalist State. A truly 



140 PROLETCULT 



revolutionised education is possible only in the 
revolutionised State. 

Pending the World Revolution, it is for Prolet- 
culturists of all lands to unite. The Russians can 
help us, and we can help the Russians. We can 
help one another by educational organisation on 
an international scale,- just as much as by industrial 
and political organisation on an international 
scale. That is why it is essential to establish a 
Red Proletcult International. 

The workers are strong. If they endure oppres- 
sion, it is because they are hypnotised. The one 
thing needful is to awaken them from this hypnotic 
sleep. 

SOUND THE REVEILLE ! 



APPENDIX 



APPENDIX 

BIBLIOGRAPHY 

I 

BOOKS, PAMPHLETS, AND PERIODICALS 

This includes all periodicals mentioned in the text or used in 
the preparation of the book, except those connected with the 
Young movement. For these see Socialist and Communist 
Youth. 

[* signifies " specially recommended " for study of the subject of which the 

starred work treats. It does not necessarily imply agreement with the 

writer's premises or conclusions]. 

*Ablett, Noah, Easy Outlines of Economics, Plebs League, 
London, 1920. [Textbook]. 

Adult School Social Service Book, National Adult School 
Union, London, 1914. 

Adult School, The, What it is and does, [folder], National 
Adult School Union, London. 

Adult School Work, National Adult School Union, London, 1919. 

Am Aufbau [Let us Rebuild] Documents of the Executive 
Committee of the Communist International of Youth, Berlin, 
1920. [Not yet available in English translation]. 

Amstel, A. van, Socialistische Opvoeding en Socialistische 
Zondagscholen, Onze Taak ten opzichte van het jonge 
Geslacht [Socialist Education and Socialist Sunday Schools, 
Our Duty towards the Younger Generation] " De Zaaier " 
Jeugdbond, Scheeperstraat 28, The Hague, Holland. 

Anderson, Tom, Socialist Sunday Schools, A Review of how to 
Open and Conduct a Proletarian School, Proletarian School, 
550 Argyle Street, Glasgow, 1918. 

♦Baudouin, Charles, Suggestion and Autosuggestion, A Psy- 
chological and Pedagogical Study, translated from the French 
by E. & C. Paul, Allen & Unwin, London, 1920. (See text 
p. 130, a standard work). 

Baudouin, Charles, Tolstoi Educateur, Delachaux et Niestle, 
Paris, 1921. 

Berenberg, David P., Socialist Sunday Schools in U.S.A. 
(unpublished). Bureau of Industrial Research; 289 Fourth 
Avenue, New York City, U.S.A. 1920. 

Bergson, Henri, An Introduction to Metaphysics, translated 
by T. E. Hulme, Macmillan, London, 1913. 

*43 



144 PEOLETOTJLT 



Berth, Edouard, Dialogues socialistes, Jacques, Paris, 1901. 

Blake, William, Poetical Works, edited by John Sampson, 
Clarendon Press, Oxford, 1905. 
iSj *Bogdanoff, A., Science and the Working Class [not yet avail- 
able in English translation], A German translation of this 
pamphlet, Die Wissenschaft und die Arbeiterklasse, is pub- 
lished by Der Rote Hahn, Verlag Die Aktion, Berlin-Wil- 
mersdorf, Germany. 

Bogdanoff, A., What is Proletarian Poetry? [Not available 
in English translation]. 

Brailsford, H. N., Art and Education in Russia, " The Na- 
tion," London, Dec. 24, 1920, and Jan. 15, 1921. 

Brailsford, H. N., The Russian Communist Party, " The 
Contemporary Review," London, Jan., 1921. 

Braithwaite, W. C, Foundations of National Greatness, a 
Scheme of Study, National Adult School Union, London, 1915. 

Bucharin, N., Programme of the World Revolution, Socialist 
Labour Press, Glasgow, 1920. 

Budish, J. M., & Soule, George, The New Unionism (see in 
especial Chap. VIII on Education), Harcourt Brace & Howe, 
New York City, U.S.A., 1920. 

Buharin see Bucharin. 

Bullitt, W. C, Report on Russian Schools, " New York Call," 
Sept. 16, 1919. 

Buxton, Charles Sydney, Ruskin College, an Educational Ex- 
periment, " Cornhill," London, Aug., 1908. 

Cahiers du Travail see France. 

" Call," New York, has special educational rubric and a column 
" Yipseldom " dealing with the Young International. 112 
Fourth Avenue, New York City, U.S.A. 

*Case of the Rand School, Rand School of Social Science, New 
York City, U.S.A., 1919. (Account of the attacks on the 
School by patriots). 

Clarke, John S., Satires, Lyrics and Poems, Socialist Labour 
Press, Glasgow, 1919. 

Ci.unie, James, First Principles of Working-Class Education, 
Socialist Labour Press, Glasgow, 1920. 

Cole, G. D. H., Labour in the Commonwealth, Headley, Lon- 
don, 1918. 

" Communist International," organ of the Executive Committee 
of the Communist International (reprint in course of pub- 
lication by the Communist Party of Great Britain, Section 
of Third International, 16 King's Street, Covent Garden, 
London, W.C.2), No. 1; Manifesto of the Communist Inter- 
national. No. 2; article by A. Lunacharsky, Public Educa- 
tion in Soviet Russia. No. 5, for the Section on the Com- 
munist International of Youth. No. 6; article by A. 
Lunacharsky, Public Education in Soviet Russia. Nos. 11-12, 
for special section on the Communist International of Youth. 

" Communistische Onderwijzer " (monthly organ of the Union 
of Communist Schoolteachers), le Helmersstraat 202 3 , Amster- 
dam. 



~ APPENDIX 145 

" Contemporary Review/' London, issue of Jan., 1921; H. N. 
Brailsford, The Russian Communist Party. 

" Cooperation/ ' New York, U.S.A. 

u Cooperative Education/' 402 Stone Avenue, Brooklyn, New 
York, U.S.A. 

" Cooperative Educator/' Cooperative Union Ltd., Manchester, 
file 1917 et seq. 

Cournos, John, four articles on Proletarian Culture; 1 Theory, 
2 Poetry, 3 Theatre, 4 A Factory of Literature. Cf. " New 
Europe." 

*Craik, W. W., Outlines of the History of the Modern British 
Working-Class Movement, London Dist. Council Nat. Union 
Railwaymen, London, 1916; subsequent editions, issued by 
Plebs League, are entitled, A Short history of the Modern 
British Working-Class Movement. [Textbook for British 
classes, and has been adopted as a textbook by the Russian 
Soviet government]. 

Crosby, Ernest, Tolstoy as a Schoolmaster, Fifield, London, 1904. 

Danneberg, Robert, Staatslehrwerkstatten (Technical Educa- 
tion under State Auspices), Verlag Wiener Volksbuchhand- 
lung, Vienna, 1907. 

Da vies, J. Llewellyn, The Working Men's College, 1854-1904, 
Macmillan, London, 1904. 

De Leon, Daniel, Two Pages from Roman History. 1. Plebs 
Leaders and Labour Leaders. 2. The Warning of the 
Gracchi, S.L.P., Edinburgh, 1908. 

4i De Nieuwe Tijd " (educational organ of the Dutch revolu- 
tionary socialists), Overtoom 546, Amsterdam, Holland. 

Dewey, Evelyn, New Schools for Old (describing the regenera- 
tion of the village school at Porter, U.S.A.) Dent, London, 1919. 

Dewey, John & Evelyn, Schools of To-morrow (practical ex- 
periments in U.S.A.), Dutton, New York City, U.S.A., 1915. 

Eastman, Max, Education & Art in Soviet Russia in the light 
of official decrees and documents, Foreword by M.E., So- 
cialist Publication Society, New York City, U.S.A., 1919. 

♦Educational Programme & Syllabuses of Classes, Session 1920- 
1921, Cooperative Union Ltd., Educational Department, Man- 
chester. 

Ferrer, Francisco, The Origin & Ideals of the Modern School, 
translated by Joseph MacCabe, Watts, London, 1913. 

*Ferriere, Adolphe, Transformons l'Scole (Revolutionise the 
School), Bureau International des Ecoles Nouvelles, Basle, 
1920. 

France. Cahiers du Travail [textbooks for working-class 
education, in progress] 144 rue Pelleport, Paris, 1921. 

Freeman, Arnold, An Introduction to the Study of Social 
Problems, Workers' Educational Association, London, 1918. 

*Fricke, Fritz, Die Riitebildung im Klassenkampf der Gegen- 
wart [Soviet Culture in the Class Struggle To-day]. Rate 
Lehrbticher (Textbook) No. 5, Buchverlag Ratebund, Ber- 
lin, 1920. 

" Gegner, Der/' special number on the Programme for a Pro- 

io 



146 PROLETCULT 



letarian Theatre, No. 4, 1920/21, Malik Verlag, Kurfiirsten- 
damm, 76, Berlin-Halensee. 

General Cooperative Survey, Cooperative Union Ltd., Man- 
chester, 1917. 

Gillman, Frederick John, The Workers and Education, Allen 
& Unwin, London. 

Gimenez, Angel, M., Nuestiras Bibliotecas Socialistas [Our 
Socialist Libraries], Partido Socialista, Buenos-Aires, 1918. 

♦Gleason, Arthur, Workers' Education, Bureau of Industrial 
Research, New York City, U.S.A., 1921. (U.S.A. and British, 
contains much valuable information). 

Greenwood, Arthur, Labour and Adult Education, Essay vi 
in Cambridge Essays on Adult Education edited by R. St. 
John Parry, University Press, Cambridge, 1920. 

Greenwood, Arthur, The Education of the Citizen, Workers' 
Educational Association, London, 1920. 

Hammond, N. W., A Vision in Education, Birmingham Central 
Labour Party, 1920. 

Hay, W. F., Education and the Working Class, Liverpool and Dis- 
trict Council for Independent Working-Class Education, 1920. 

Hertzka, Theodor, A Visit to Freeland, Reeves, London, 1895. 

Hertzka, Theodor, Freeland, A Social Anticipation, translated 
by Arthur Ransome, Chatto & Windus, London, 1891. 

Higdon, T. G., The Burst on Rebellion, National Labour Press, 
London, 1916. 

Higher Education for Young Men and Women [leaflet], Na- 
tional Adult School Union, London, 1920. 

" Highway," published by the Workers' Educational Associa- 
tion, 16 Harpur Street, Theobald's Road, London, W.C.I. 

*Hoernle, Edwin, Sozialistische Jungenderziehung und Jugend- 
bewegung [Education of Socialist Youth and the Youth 
Movement] No. 4 of the International Library of Youth, 
Verlag Junge Garde, Berlin, 1919. [Not available in English]. 

Honay, Karl, Proletarische Jugendorganisation und Politik, 
Verlag Wiener Volksbuchhandlung, Vienna, 1918. 

Hunt, Harriet E., Aufco- Education and Montessori Method, 
Bardeen, Syracuse, New York, U.S.A., 1912. 

Joubert, Joseph, A Selection from his Thoughts, translated by 
Katharine Lyttelton, Duckworth, London, 1898. 

" Justice, 'V London, articles on Labour Colleges, issues of Feb. 
24, 1912, et seq. 

Keatinge, Maurice Walter, Suggestion in Education, A. & C. 
Black, London, 1911. 

Kendall, May, Dreams to Sell, Longmans, London, 1887. 

*Kollontai, A., The New Morality and the Working Class. 
(Not yet available in, English translation). 

Krupskaia see Ulianova. 

Labour College, prospectuses, reports, syllabuses, etc., The 
Labour College, London. 

Lagardelle, Hubert, Le Socialisme ouvrier, Giard et Briere, 
Paris, 1911. (See the essay " L'£cole et le proletariat," pp. 
127 et seq). 



APPENDIX 147 



Lange, Dan de, Van den Bond van Rev. Soc. Intellectueelen 
(concerning the League of Revolutionary Socialist Intellec- 
tuals), Amsterdam, Holland, 1920. 

Lay, Wilfrid, The Child's Unconscious Mind, Dodd Mead, New 
York City, U.S.A., 1919. 

Lenin, N., The State and Revolution, B.S.P. and S.L.P., Lon- 
don and Glasgow, 1919. 

Life's Adventure, Means and Methods in the Adult School 
Search for Truth, Beauty, and Goodness [folder], National 
Adult School Union, London. 

Life's Adventure, The Search for Truth, Beauty and Goodness, 
compiled by the National Adult School Union, London, 1920. 
[Textbook] . 

Lunacharsky, A.," Temple or Workshop? [Not available in 
English translation]. 

Lunacharsky, A., The Cultural Tasks of the Working Class: 
Universal Culture and Class Culture, 1918. [Not available 
in English]. An abbreviated translation appeared in 
" Plebs," October and November, 1920. 

Lunacharsky, A., The Labour School (on sale in U.S.A.). 

Lunacharsky, A., Three Years of the Soviet Republic. [Not 
available in English translation]. 

MacDougall, James D., A Plea for a Labour College for Scot- 
land, Address, February 12, 1916, The Scottish Labour 
College, Glasgow. 

♦Maclean, John, Notes of Lectures on Economics given by 
J.M., Scottish Labour College, Glasgow. 

*Madams, Julia P., The Story Retold, Intermediate Textbook 
on Cooperation, Cooperative Union Ltd., Manchester, 1917. 
(Contains, amid other matter, a good account of cooperative 
education). 

*Mansbridge, Albert, An Adventure in Working-Class Educa- 
tion, Longmans Green, London, 1920. (The best account of 
W.E.A., its origin, aims, and methods). 

Mansbridge, Albert, University Tutorial Classes, Longmans 
Green, London, 1913. 

Marx, Karl, Capital (vol. I), 5th edition, Swan Sonnenschein, 
London, 1896; reissued Glaisher, London, 1920. 

Marx, Karl, and Engels, Manifesto of the Communist Party, 
Reeves, London. 

*Mellor, William, Direct Action, New Era Series No. 8, Par- 
sons, London, 1920. 

*" Modern School/ ' a monthly magazine devoted to libertarian 
ideas in education, Ferrer Colony, Stelton, N. Jersey, U.S.A., 
file 1914-1921. 

Morris, William, Communism, Fabian Tract No. 113, 1903. 

Morris, William, News from Nowhere, Longmans, London, 1918. 

♦Muller-Lyer, F., The History of Social Development, trans- 
lated by E. C. and H. A. Lake, Allen & Unwin, London, 1920. 

*Munzenberg, Wilhelm, Die Sozialistische Jugendinternation- 
ale [The Socialist International of Youth], No. 3 of the 
International Library of Youth, Yerlag Junge Garde, Berlin, 
1919. 



148 PKOLETCTJLT 



N.N., Concerning Proletarian Ethics. (This brochure by a 
Russian comrade is not yet available in English translation). 

" Nation, The," London, issues of Dec. 24, 1920, and Jan. 15, 
1921; H. N. Brailsford, Art and Education in Russia. 

Nkfsky, V., The Sverdloff University in Moscow. [Not avail- 
able in English translation]. 

*" New Europe/' vol. XIII, Nos. 159, 160, 161, 162, Oct.-Nov., 

1919. Editor, R. W. Seton- Watson, c.o. Eyre & Spottiswoode, 
9, East Harding Street, London, E.O.4. (Four articles on 
Proletcult by John Cournos, Anti-Bolshevik, but extremely 
interesting). 

" One and All," organ of the National Adult School Union 
[file 1889 et seq], London. 

Owen, Robert, A New View of Society : or, Essays on the 
Principle of the Formation of the Human Character, 3 parts, 
Cadell & Davies, London, 1813. 

Pankhurst, Sylvia, The Schooling of the Future with special 
reference to the Education Bill [1918] and its Defects (leaf- 
let), Workers' Suffrage Federation, London, 1918. 

*Parry, R. St. John (editor), Cambridge Essays on Adult 
Education, University Press, Cambridge, 1920. (Contains 
useful historical and other matter, from the donnish outlook). 

Paul, Eden and Cedar, Creative Revolution, Allen & Unwin, 
London,, 1920; Seltzer, New York City, U.S.A., 1921; Plebs 
League, London, 1921. 

Paul, Eden and Cedar, Independent Working-Class Education, 
Workers' Socialist Federation, London, 1918. 

Pelloutier, Fernand, Histoire des bourses du travail, Librairie 
Reinwald, Schleicher, Paris, 1902. 

Plea for a Labour College for Scotland, Glasgow, 1916. 

*" Plebs Magazine," started 1909, passim, 11a Penywern Road, 
Earls Court, London, S.W.5. (Now 6d. monthly, the leading 
Proletcult periodical). 

Podmore, Frank, Robert Owen, a Biography, 2 vols., Hutchin- 
son, London, 1906. 

*Poliansky, V., The Revolution and the Cultural Tasks of the 
Proletariat, Thesis to Proletcult Conference, 1918 (not avail- 
able in English translation). 

" Poor Man's Guardian," Manchester, 1882. 

" Populaire," Paris, January 20, 1919. 

" Rand School News and Book Review," file September, 1920, 
et seq. 

Rand School of Social Science, Bulletins for 1918-1919, 1919- 

1920, 1920-1921, 7 East loth Street, New York City, U.S.A. 
Ransome, Arthur, Six Weeks in Russia in 1919, Allen & Un- 
win, London, 1919; Huebsch, New York City, U.S.A., 1919. 

Rathenau, Walter, In Days to Come, translated by Eden and 

Cedar Paul, Allen & Unwin, London, 1921. 
Ravitsh, S., The Zinovieff University in Petrograd. [Not 

available in English translation]. 
" Red Dawn," a Magazine for Young People, International 

Proletarian School Movement, 17 Oswald Street, Glasgow. 



APPENDIX 149 



" Red Flag," Organ of the Young Socialist League, begun May, 
1920; only one number issued. (See " Young Worker, The "). 

Robertson, A. H., Independence or Copartnership in Educa- 
tion, published by Guy Bowman, London, 1910. (A pioneer 
proletculturist's criticism of the W.E.A.). 

Ruskin College Conference, Manifesto to the Delegates, Oxford, 
1909. 

Ruskin College, Enforced Resignation of Mr. Dennis Hird, 
Manifesto by the Students, Oxford, 1909. 

Ruskin College, Trade-Union Students' Manifesto, Oxford, 1909. 

Ruskin Fellowship, leaflet proposing the formation of the 
" Plebs," Oxford, 1909. * 

" Russian Correspondence," (file) but specially No. 10, July 
1920 for articles on Russian educational work, Smolny, 
Petrograd. 

Scottish Labour College, Prospectus, Glasgow, 1919-1920. 

*Seed, W. H., The Burning Question of Education, Plebs 
League, Oxford, 1909. (This pamphlet contains the best de- 
tailed account of the strike at Ruskin College, and the 
formation of the Plebs League and the foundation of the 
Central Labour College. The author's name was withdrawn 
from the later revised editions, and the pamphlet was issued 
by the E.C. of the Plebs League). 

11 Ship Builders' News and Navy Yard Employee," A Monthly 
Ship Workers' Journal, Supplement, Workers' Education, a 
Symposium, Brooklyn, N. York, U.S.A., November, 1919. 

Sinclair, Upton, The Brass Check, a Study of American Jour- 
nalism, published by the Author, Pasadena, California, 1919; 
Henderson, London, 1921. 

Socialist Sunday Schools, Aims, Objects, and Organisation, 
with List of Publications, National Council of British So- 
cialist Sunday Schools, 1914. Address, see p. 153. 

Socialist Sunday Schools, United States of America, by David 
P. Berenberg, lecturer at the Rand School of Social Science 
(unpublished), Bureau of Industrial Research, 289, Fourth 
Avenue, New York City, 1920. 

11 Solidarity," 10 Tudor Street, London, E.C. 4; Ap. 1st & 8th, 
1921. (Articles by Pierre Pascal on Child Education in Soviet 
Russia). 

" Sonntagsblaetter," 1920. Supplement by Fritz Wartenweilen- 
Haffter, Der erste Sommer im Nussbaum, Verlag Genossen- 
schaft, Zurich, Switzerland. 

South Wales Plebs, Appeal for a New Labour College, Porth, 
1909, (leaflet). 

" Sowjet," a Communist monthly, for October, 1920; report 
of the first All-Russian Proletcult conference. Seehof Verlag, 
Berlin, C. 54, Germany. 

11 Sozialistlsche Schulleiter," a bulletin for the guidance of 
socialist teachers of children. Socialist Sunday Schools and 
Children's Group. Alfred Hiimbelin, Birmensdorfstr, 55, Zurich 
4, Switzerland. (Teaching based on class struggle and pre- 
paration for revolution, through stories for the most part). 



150 PEOLETCULT 



11 Spectator,' * London, file for 1920. 

*Starr, Mark, A Worker Looks at History, Plebs League, 
London, 1920. [Textbook]. 

Struik, D. J., Het Kommunisme en net opkomend Geslacht. 
Doel en Taak der Proletarische Jeugdbeweging [Communism 
and the Rising Generation. Aims and Tasks of the Move- 
ment of Proletarian Youth] " De Zaaier " Jeugdbond, 
Scheeperstraat 28, The Hague, Holland. 

" Sunday Times," London, January 2nd, 1921. 

" Survey," New York, September 1, 1920. 

♦Sweeney, Charles Patrick, Adult Working-Class Education 
in Great Britain and the United States, Bulletin No. 271, 
U.S. Department of Labor, Washington, U.S.A., 1920. (A 
useful booklet, compiled by a young government official, a 
keen educationist of fairly advanced views). 

" Syndicalist, The," organ of the Industrial Syndicalist Edu- 
cation League. [Extinct]. 

♦Tansley, A. G., The New Psychology and its Relation to Life, 
Allen & Unwin, London, 1920. 

" Times," London, The Ferment of Revolution, September 
15th, 1917, et seq. 

Tolstoi, Leon, L'ecole de Yasnala Poliana, Savine, Paris, 1888. 

Tolstoi, Leon, Journal intime, 1895-1910, Flammarion, Paris, 
1917. (This contains the French version of the passage 
quoted on pp. 134 and 140 of our text). 

Tolstoy, Leo, Journal, 1895-1910, translated by Rose Strunsky, 
Knopf, New York City, U.S.A., 1917. (This was translated 
from an expurgated version of the Russian original, pub- 
lished during the last days of the tsarist regime. It does 
not contain the passage we quote on pp. 134 and 140). 

Tolstoy, Leo, What is Art? translated by Aylmer Maude, 
Walter Scott, London, 1899. 

Trotsky, L., Terrorism and Communism, Communist Party of 
Great Britain, London, 1921. 

Trotter, W., Instincts of the Herd in Peace and War, Fisher 
Unwin, London, 1916. 

Ulianova (Krupskaia), The Ideal of Socialist Education, thesis 
presented to the first All-Russian Proletcult Conference, 1918. 

♦Vasconcellos, A Faria de, A New School in Belgium, trans- 
lated from the French by E. and C. Paul, Harrap, London, 
1919. 

" Voix Nouvelles," December 15, 1920, Geneva, Switzerland. 

" Volksbtihne," (The People's Theatre), a journal for social 
art, file 1920-21, Verlag Volksbtihne E.V., Berlin, C. 25, 
Germany. 

W.E.A., its Methods and Organisation, [leaflet], Workers' 
Educational Association, London, 1920. 

W.E.A. Recommendations for Adult Education, Workers' 
Educational Association, London, 1920. 

♦W.E.A. Year Book, Workers' Educational Association, Lon- 
don, 1918. 

Wells, H. G., A Modern Utopia, Chapman & Hall, London, 



1905. 



APPENDIX 151 



Wells, H. G., New Worlds for Old, Constable, London, 1914. 
Wells, H. G., The Wonderful Visit, Dent, London, 1914. 
What a Government Committee says about the Work of the 

Adult School Movement [pamphlet], National Adult School 

Union, London, 1920. 
What is an Adult School? [leaflet], National Adult School 

Union, London. 
♦White, William A., The Mental Hygiene of Childhood, Little 

Brown, Boston, U.S.A., 1919. 
Wichmann, Clara, Het Russische Huwelijks- en Familie-Recht, 

(Russian Marriage and Family Law). De Nieuwe Amster- 

dammer, 2e Const antijn Huygensstraat 79, Amsterdam, Hol- 
land, 1920. 
Woods, Robert Archey, English Social Movements, Swan Son- 

nensehein, London, 1895. 
" Working Men's College Magazine/' 3 vols., 1859-1861, Mac- 

millan, London, 1859 et seq. 
" Young International, The," monthly organ of the Young 

Communist International, issued in German, Russian, 

Swedish, and Italian, by the E.C. of the Young Communist 

International. 
" Young Rebel," a Paper for Young Socialists, begun May, 

1917, suppressed in 1918. (Wallsend-on-Tyne). 
" Young Republican," Organ of the Students' Anti-Tory Union, 

begun January-March, 1919. (London, only one number is- 
sued). 
" Young Socialist," a Magazine of Justice and Love, organ 

of the Socialist Sunday School Union, Editor May Westoby, 

13 Wilton Crescent, Wimbledon, London. 
Young Socialist Crusaders, Aims, Objects, and Methods of 

Organisation, National Council of British Socialist Sunday 

Schools, C. M'Nab Shaw, Snowlea, Kirkburn Avenue, Cam- 

buslang, Glasgow, 1920. 
M Young Worker, The," with which is incorporated " The Red 

Flag," monthly organ of The Young Workers' League. First 

issue, Easter, 1921. 
ZioRossER, Carl. The Modern School, (pamphlet), Ferrer 

Colony, Stelton, N. Jersey, U.S.A., 1918. 



II 

EDUCATIONAL AND OTHER ORGANISATIONS 
CONCERNING ADULTS 

(British unless otherwise specified). 

Adult School Union. See National Adult School Union. 
Argentina. Socialist Party, Comision de Fomento de las 
Bibliotecas, Rivadavia 2089, Buenos- Aires. 



152 PEOLETCULT 



Argentina. Sociedad Luz, founded 1899, to " instruct the 
people." Has a library of approx. 10,000 books. Is now 
building a People's House in two stories ; big conference hall, 
library, museum, etc. Address : El Hogar Obrero, Martin 
Gracia 473, Buenos-Aires. 

Argentina. Workers' Library, founded 1897, approximately 
13,000 vols., supported more and more by trade unions, is 
housed in a building of its own. Address : Biblioteca Obrera, 
| Calle Mejico 2070, Buenos-Aires. 

Cooperative, Central Education Committee appointed in 1885; 
address, Holyoake House, Holyoake Street, Manchester. 

Cooperative College, projected before the war, established 1918, 
pending provision of permanent headquarters is now carried 
on at Holyoake House, Hanover Street, Manchester. 

Fircroft College, Bournville, opened in 1909, young men, Resi- 
dential. (Adult School Union). 

Ford Cottage, York, founded 1919, winter school, residential 
for women students. (Adult School Union). 

France. Clarte, 12 rue Feydeau, Paris. 

Holland. Bond van Revol. Soc. Intellectueelen, 2e Constantijn 
Huygenstraat 79, Amsterdam. Sub-Committee of Education, 
P. Schut, Lithwinastraat, Schiedam, Holland. Bond van 
Communistische Onderwijzers (Teachers). This League runs 
a periodical which is well informed on educational work in 
Soviet Russia, Amsterdam. 

Manor House, Bewdley, Worcestershire, winter school, resi- 
dential for women. (Adult School Union). 

Mexico. Jose Vasconcelos, Minister for Education and Rector 
of National University, has introduced new educational sys- 
tem. The curriculum includes Economics and Socialism. 
Two new chairs have been established recently. Robert 
Haberman, socialist, and correspondent of the " New York 
Call," who helped to establish the socialist government of 
Yucatan, has been entrusted with the professorships of both 
these chairs. 

Morley Memorial College, founded 1889, Waterloo Road, London. 

National Adult School Union founded in 1899. Arose out of 
Sunday School movement, 30 Bloomsbury Street, London, 
W.C.I. 

Oxford House University Settlement, founded in 1884, Mape 
Street, Bethnal Green, London, E.2. 

Penscot, Somerset, winter school, residential for women. 
(Adult School Union). 

Plebs League, 11a Penywern Road, Earls Court, London, S.W.5. 
(The genius of Proletcultural activities in Britain. In con- 
versation with a member of the League who recently visited 
Russia, both Lenin and Poliansky expressed their admira- 
tion for the work of the Plebs League and the Labour 
Colleges). 

Selly Oak, Adult School Settlement, founded 1909. (A resident 
college). 



APPENDIX 153 



U.S.A. Bureau of Industrial Research, 289 Fourth Avenue, 
New York City. 

U.S.A. Cooperative Schools of Greater New York, 402 Stone 
Avenue, Brooklyn, New York City. Other schools at Down- 
town; Harlem; Brownsville. 

U.S.A. Ferrer Colony, Stelton, New Jersey. Modern School 
transferred here from New York in 1916. A school for the 
children of working people, wage-workers almost without 
exception. 

U.S.A. Williamsburg Culture Center and Workmen's Circle, 
c.o. N.Y. " Call/' 112 Fourth Avenue, New York City. 

Workers' Educational Association, founded 1903, 16 Harpur 
Street, London, W.C.I. 

Workers' Educational Trade Union Committee, 16 Harpur 
Street, London, W.C.I. 



Ill 
LABOUR COLLEGES AND PROLETCULT COUNCILS 

(British unless otherwise stated). 

Central Labour College, founded 1909, now Labour College, 
which see. 

Educational Sub-Committee of the South Wales Miners' 
Federation, St. Andrew's Crescent, Cardiff. A 

France. Centrale d'Education Ouvriere at Lyons, first centre 
to be formed for teaching young workers the elements of 
Working Class History, Socialism, and the history of revo- 
lutions. Has an Art section. Secretary, Pierre Laurent, 
Groupe d'Etudiants Communistes de Lyon. 

France. Ecole de Propagandistes, 49 rue de Bretagne, Paris. 
Lecture courses. 

France. Ecole Marxiste, 49 rue de Bretagne, Paris. Lectures 
Sundays and Thursdays. Secretary : Dr. Grabois, 50 rue 
des Francs-Bourgeois, Paris. 

Germany. Ratebund, Luisenstrasse 28, Berlin, N.W.6, Ger- 
many. (A Berlin organisation for proletcultural publishing 
and classes). 

Italy. Istituto di Cultnra Proletaria, 12 Corso Galileo Fer- 
raris, Turin. (Labour College, inaugurated, Jan., 1921.) 

Labour College (late Central Labour College), sec. : Geo. Sims, 
13 Penywern Road, Earls Court, London, S.W.5. 

London Council for Independent Working-Class Education, R 
Holder, 11a Penywern Road, Earls Court, London, S.W.5. 

Liverpool Council for Independent Working-Class Education, 
J. Hamilton, 99 Botanic Road, Liverpool. 

Manchester Labour College, J. McGee, Woodlands Lodge, 
Crescent Road, Crumpsall, Manchester. 

Mexican Labour College, Calle de Belisario Dominguez, Mexico 
City. 



154 PBOLETCULT 

North-Eastern District of the Labour College, 5 Byroni Street, 
Newcastle-on-Tyne. 

Ruskin College, founded 1899, at Oxford. Opened to women 
in 1920. Now has a woman's hostel with seven resident 
students in addition to the men students at the College. 

Russia. Six old universities now increased to 16, free. 
Polytechnics, free. Libraries, towns and villages. (Consult 
chapter viii, " Proletcult in Russia "). 

Scottish Labour College, sees. : P. Lavin, 196 St. Vincent Street, 
Glasgow, and J. Miller, 30 Newhaven Road, Leith, Edinburgh. 

Sheffield Labour College, T. Worrall, 33 Swarcliffe Road, Shef- 
field. 

Switzerland. Universite Populaire, Berne. A partial realisa- 
tion of the " unified labour school/ ' The workers meet in 
groups of 10 for the study of various subjects, including 
economics. No professors. The students do their own teach- 
ing. 

U.S.A. Rand School of Social Science, 7 East 15th Street, New 
York City. 



IV 

SOCIALIST AND COMMUNIST YOUTH ORGANISATIONS 
AND PERIODICAL PUBLICATIONS 

International of Youth (Communist), Smolny, Room 32, 
Petrograd, Russia. 

NATIONAL ORGANISATIONS. 

Alsace-Lorraine, Verband Soz. Jugend or Entente Regionale 
des Jeunesse Socialistes, 6 rue des Musiciens, Mtilhausen. 

Austria, Communist Union, Pulverturmgasse 7, Vienna, ix. 
Verband Jugendlicher Arbeiter (Social Democratic), Rechte 
Wienzeile, 97, Vienna v/1. 

Belgium, Jeune Garde, rue Steenport 3 a la Fontaine, Brussels. 

Britain, Young Workers' League, 28 East Road, City Road, 
London. 

Bulgaria, Com. Union of Youth, Naroden Dom, Sofia. 

Czecho-Slovakia, Communist Union of Youth, Hybernska 
Ulica 7, Prague. 

Denmark, Social demokratisk Ungdomsforbund, Romersgade 
22s, Copenhagen. 

France, Internationale Communiste des Jeunes, 123 rue Mont- 
ma rtre, Paris. 

Germany, Freie Soz. Jugend, Stralauerstrasse 12, Berlin, C.2. 
Kommunistische Arbeiterjiigend, Gfirtelstrasse 25, Berlin, O, 
112. Volksreise Verband (Sports and travel), Engelufer 15, 
Berlin. 

Holland, De Zaaier (Communist), Scheaperstraat 28, The 
Hague. 



APPENDIX 155 



Hungary, Communist Youth (illegal), numbered 120,000 before 
overthrow of the Soviet government. No address at present. 

Italy, Fed. Giovanile Socialista (Communist), Via del Semin- 
ario 87, Rome. 

Luxemburg, Jeunesse Socialiste, Kongregationsstrasse 3, Lux- 
emburg. 

Norway, Socialdemokatiske Ungdomsforbund, St. Olafsgate 
14iii, Christiania. 

Poland, Communist Youth, mainly illegal, has clubs in War- 
saw, Lodz, and elsewhere. No address at present. 

Portugal, Syndicalist Youth. No address. 

Rumania, Socialist Union of Youth, Strada St. Jonica, 12, 
Bucharest. 

Russia, Communist Union of Youth, Machawaja 7, Moscow. 

Serbia, Communist Union of Youth. No address. 

Spain, Communist Youth, Mendizabal 78iii, Madrid. 

Slovene (Hungary) Socialist Young Workers, Bratislava Ulica 
12, Kaschau, Hungary. 

Sweden, Socialdemokratiska Ungdomsforbund (Communist), 
Torsgaten 10, Stockholm. 

Switzerland, Union of Youth, Kornerstra^sse 12, Zurich; and 
Case Postale, Eaux-Vives, Geneva. 

U.S.A., Young People's Socialist League, Helen Harvey, 220 
South Ashland Boulevard, Chicago, 111. 

SOCIALIST SUNDAY SCHOOLS. 

Britain. Headquarters. Clarice M'Nab-Shaw, Snowlea, Kirk- 
burn Avenue, Cambuslang, Glasgow. 

Modern School, London, reopened March 6th, 1921, Capmakers' 
Hall, Commercial Road, E. 

Proletarian School Movement, 17 Oswald Street, Glasgow ; 
gen. sec., T. Islwyn Nicholas, Shamrock House, Alexandra 
Road, Aberystwyth. 

Switzerland. Headquarters. Alfred Hiimbelin, Birmens- 
dorferstr 55, Zurich 4. 

U.S.A. Headquarters. E. C. Breithut, 569 West 171 Street, 
New York City. 

UNIVERSITY SOCIALIST FEDERATIONS & SOCIETIES. 

Austria, Freier Verein Soz. Studenten, Paul Stein, Prater 22, 

Vienna. 
Belgium, F£d. Nat. Etudiants Socialistes, Gorges Bohy, 108, 

Av. Ducpetaux, Brussels. 
Britain, University Socialist Federation, 34 Eccleston Sq., 

London, S.W.I. 
France, F£d. Nat. Etudiants Socialistes, Alphonse Goldenberg, 

60, rue du Chateau d'Eau, Paris; and Rene* Bremier, 9, 

Avenue Marigny, Fontenay-sous-Bois. 
Germany, Soz. Studentenbund, Fritz Kausch, Anlage 66, 

Heidelberg. Block Revolution^ Studenten (Communists), 

Karl. A. Wittfogel, Landhausstrasse, Berlin- Wilmersdorf. 



156 PEOLETCULT 



Holland, Vereeniging Nederlandsche Soc. Studenten, Leentje 

Verhoeven, Apothekerdijk 25a, Leyden. Bond Rev. Soc. 

Studenten, Leyden and Amsterdam. 
Ireland, Queen's University of Belfast Revolutionary Society, 

Brice Olarke, Coole Glebe, Carnmoney, Belfast. 
Italy, Gruppo Studenti Socialisti, Via Teatrovelle 27, Rome. 
Spain, Gruppo Estudiantes Socialistas, Casa del Pueblo, Calle 

del Piamonte, Madrid; and Casa del Pueblo, Salvador 6, 

Valladolid. 
Switzerland, Fed. Suisse des Etudiants Socialistes, Charles 

Reber, 61, Boulevard Carl Vogt, Geneva. 
U.S.A., Intercollegiate Socialist Society, H. W. Laidler, 70 

Fifth Avenue, New York City. 

YOUNG INTERNATIONAL PRESS. 

Alsace-Lorraine, " Junge Revolutionar," Hoffnungsstrasse 77, 

Miilhausen. 
Argentina. " La Vanguardia," Rivadavia 2089, Buenos- Aires. 

(Daily organ of the Socialist Party. Has frequent educa- 
tional supplements). 
Austria. " Kommunistische Jugend," Pulverturmgasse 7, 

Vienna, v. 
Belgium. " Ouvrier Communiste," a la Fontaine 3 rue 

Steenport, Brussels. 
Britain. " Young Worker," 28 East Road, City Road, London, 

N.l. " Red Dawn," 17 Oswald Street, Glasgow. " Young 

Socialist," 13 Wilton Crescent, Wimbledon, London, S.W. 

" Bulletin," University Socialist Federation, 34 Eccleston 

Square, London, S.W.I. 
Bulgaria. " Mladeschka Prawda," Naroden Dom, Lewow 

Most PL, Sofia. " Drugartsche " (children), same address. 
Czecho-Slovakia. " Junge Welt," Theresiengasse 13, Teplitz- 

Schonau. " Az Ifju Garda," Bratislava Duna 12, Kaschau, 

Hungary. " Mlady Proletar," Hybernska Ul. 7, Prague. 

" Mlady Delnlk," Bratislava Duna 48, Kaschau, Hungary. 
Denmark. " Fremad," Romersgade 22, Copenhagen. " Laer- 

lingen " (schoolchildren) N. Birkegade 7, Copenhagen. 

" Arbejdernes Borneblad " (children) Drogensgade 16, 

Copenhagen. 
Finland. " Nuori Tyalainen," Sirkuskasu 5, Helsingfors (in 

Finnish). " Till Storm," same address (in Swedish). 
France. " L'Avantgarde Ouvrier et Communiste," 123 rue 

Montmartre, Paris. 
Germany. " Junge Garde," Stralauerstr 12, Berlin, C.2. 

" Junge Genosse " (international-children), Schievelbeinerstr 

6, Berlin, N.113. 
Holland. " Jonge Kommunist," Rembrandtstraat 378, The 

Hague. " Jeugdige Werker," Commelinstraat 81, Amster- 
dam. 
Italy. " Avanguardia," via del Seminario 87, Rome. " Ger- 

moglio," same address. " Gioventu Rossa," via Emanuele 

Filiberto 125, Rome. 



APPENDIX 157 



Jugo-Slavia. " Czvena Zastava," Sarajews-Kaja 45, Belgrade. 
44 Budutschnostj," (Narodni Doin, Belgrade. 

Latvia. 44 Juni Sparlak," no address, clandestine publication. 

Lithuania. " Janassis Komniunista," published clandestinely 
in Lithuanian, Russian, and Yiddish. No address. 

Luxemburg. " Neue Jugend," Bommwegerstrasse 10, Luxem- 
burg. 

Norway. " Klassenkampen," St. Olafsgate 14iii, Christiania. 

Poland. " Glos Mlodziezy Socialistyeznej " and " Freie Ar- 
beiter Jugend " (Yiddish); former address, Karmelicka 15, 
Warsaw. At present appearing from time to time, clan- 
destine publication. 

Rumania. " Tinesetul Socialist,' ' St. Jonica 12, Bucharest. 

Russia. " Yuny Kommunist, ,, Machawja 7, Moscow. " Yuny 
Proletary," Krasnaja 21, Petrograd. In addition 70 pro- 
vincial papers, and 90 Young People's supplements in dailies. 

SrAiN. " El Communista, ,, Mendizabal 78iii, Madrid. 

Sweden. 44 Stormglocken," Torgaten 10, Stockholm. " Barn- 
tidningen " (children), same address. 

Switzerland. ' 4 Neue Jugend,' ' Burgvogtei, Basle. " Junge 
Saat," Kornerstr 12, Zurich. " Nouvelle Internationale," 
Case Postale, Eaux-Vives, Geneva. " Junge Schweiz " 
and " Jeune Suisse " (students), Marktplatz 6, Basle. 

U.S.A. " Young International," Loeb 2458 N, Seminary 
Avenue, Chicago, 111. 

International. " Young International," monthly, published 
simultaneously in Russian, German, Swedish, and Italian. 
Headquarters : Internationa ler Jugendverlag, Feurigstrasse, 
63, Berlin-Schoneberg, Germany. " Correspondence of the 
Young International " (every 10 days), published simultane- 
ously in English, French, and German by the E.C. of the 
Young Communist International. Same address. 

Workmen's Circle, Children's Educational Department, 175 
East Broadway, New York City, U.S.A. 



MISCELLANEOUS 

(Including child education. British when not otherwise stated). 

Argentina. Library and Recreations for Children founded 
recently by socialists. Object is to gather workers' children 
together, to amuse them with books, pictures, games, sing- 
ing, and handicrafts, excursions, walks, etc., in order to 
keep them off the street. The Society has five libraries and 
recreation places in Buenos- Ayres. Has hitherto been self- 
supporting but now the municipal council has decided to 
allocate 500 piastres a month for the daily provision of milk 
and bread for the children. Address : Fenia Ch. de Repetto, 
Bibliotecas 7 Recreos Infantiles, Rivadavia 4433, Buenos- 
Aires. 



158 PROLETCULT 



Burston Strike School, T. G. Higden, Strike School, Burston, 
Diss, Norfolk. 

France. For information re Froletcult, apply to L£on Clement, 
3 Place de Rennes, Paris, 6e. See also " Plebs " for May, 1921. 

Industrial Syndicalist Education League (now extinct). The 
object of the League was to educate the workers in the 
principles of syndicalism. 

Mechanics* Institute, 1799; Birkbeck started lecturing to ar- 
tisans at Glasgow and organised the first Mechanics' Institute 
in that city in 1800. The same philanthropist organised the 
first Mechanics' Institute in London (1824). Originally these 
Institutes were for technical education, but subsequently they 
also gave general education. Eventually they developed in 
two different directions, some becoming Working Men's 
Clubs and others becoming Working Men's Colleges. 

Modern School founded in New York City in 1911, transferred 
to Stelton in 1916. See Ferrer Colony, p. 150. 

Montessori School for Workers' Children. J. Prins-Werker, 
van Hovenstraat 66, The Hague, Holland. 

Neighborhood Playhouse and Workshop, Alice and Irene 
Lewisohn, 466, Grand Street, New York City, U.S.A. 

Progressive Education Association, Stanwood Cobb, 1607 Irving 
Street, N.W., Washington, D.C., U.S.A. 

Proletarische Schulgemeinde, Baiimgartner-Kinderheim, Vien- 
na, Austria. 

Russia. Unity School for all children from 6 to 17 years of 
age, Gratis. Clothing and food also free. (See " School 
Life," July 16, 1919, U.S. Bureau of Education. Also cf. 
" The Modern School," issue for Oct., Nov., Dec, 1919). 

Toynbee Hall, Whitechapel, founded 1884 in memory of Arnold 
Toynbee (1852-1883). Toynbee, economist and social re- 
former, advocate of " down among the masses " movement, 
worked in Whitechapel with Canon Barnett from 1875 on- 
wards. (See " University Settlement "). 

Tutorial Classes first started at Toynbee Hall, 1899. 

University Populaires, arose out of the Dreyfus Affair, and 
were run by bourgeois intellectuals with a taste for going 
down among the masses, upon which were to be conferred 
the benefits of bourgeois education. Practically extinct be- 
fore the war. 

University Extension, term first used in 1850. 

University Settlement, 1872, Whitechapel. Founded by Canon 
Barnett. After death of Arnold Toynbee, became Toynbee 
Hall, which see. 

U.S.A. Libertarian Schools : Brookwood School (colony and 
school); sec, William Fincke, P.O. Katonah, Westchester 
County, New York. Fairhope School, Principal Marietta 
^-^Johnson, Fairhope, Alabama. German Free Schools, 243 East 
84th Street, New York City. Jewish Radical Schools, Sholom 
Aleichem, New York City. Walt Whitman School, 517 South 
Boyle Av., Los Angeles, California. 

Women Citizens Association founded during the war to edu- 
cate women " for citizenship.' ' 



APPENDIX 159 



Women's Cooperative Guild founded 1883. 

Women's Institutes formed during the war to " provide a 
centre for educational and social intercourse." 

Working Men's Club and Institute, Ltd., 127 Clerkenwell Road, 
London, E.C.I. 

Working Men's College (London) 1854. Maurice and Christian 
Socialists were convinced that 4i the social problem was at 
root a problem of education." 

Working Women's College, Y.W.C.A., founded 1920 at Beck- 
en ham. 

[Much matter of great value has reached us too late for incor- 
poration either in text or appendix. We hope to make use 
of it if a second edition is called for.— E. & C. P.]